People come and go from our lives all through our days. Some stay for the long haul. Some are only passing through. Others are present for a while, then vanish. Still others leave because their time on earth is over.
An old sweetheart may find a new love and vanish with the wind. A new job may call someone to the other end of the country, or retirement may send an individual on a new path. High school and college graduations send people in different directions. There are many reasons that our connections with people may be broken or lost.
My thoughts this week have turned to “last conversations.”
How often have we heard someone say, “The last time I talked to…” The thing is, we don’t realize at the time that it is the last conversation.
In my mind, that makes every conversation more important. We southerners are very apt to end a telephone conversation with, “I love you,” out of habit. If that phrase is the last one we ever say to another human being, it is a good note on which to end a relationship.
Someone told me recently about fighting with a friend. Mothers and daughters often seem to butt heads. Life gets frustrating at times and people say things they don’t mean to each other. If we thought about the potential of every conversation being the last time we spoke with a person, it surely would change what would come out of our mouths.
It doesn’t take that much energy to encourage other people. I’ve been blessed in the last couple of weeks with people writing to me or speaking to me in town about this newspaper column. That may be the only time I ever talk with those individuals, but they will never know how much their kind words have meant to me. First of all, it lets me know that someone is reading what I write, and secondly it makes me want to do the best job I can possibly do with what I commit to paper.
I try to be an encourager to others. I don’t say things I don’t mean, and I never try to use flattery to manipulate people. I see it done all the time for the wrong reasons and it just makes me sad. I say beware of vain flatterers.
The Bible says this about such people. “A man that flatters his neighbor sets a snare for his feet.” (Proverb 29:5) “The Lord shall cut off flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things.” (Psalm 12:3)
It seems to me that the best policy is to speak the truth in love.
If we were to examine our relationships with those closest to us and think of the things we have left unsaid, how would it change our next conversation if we realized it might be our last with that individual?
There are things people often fail to say. “I’m sorry.” “Forgive me.” “Thank you.” “I appreciate you.” “I love you.”
Maybe getting a little age under my belt has changed my outlook on people. I used to be so afraid of rejection that I was intimidated to talk to some people. At his point I can talk to anybody anywhere because I’ve come to realize that we are all far more alike as human beings than we are different.
We all need people who will be honest with us. We all need encouragement. We all need love. If you knew the next conversation you have with someone would be your last, what would you say to them? Would you be able to remember the conversation in the future with peace when you remember in the future, “The last time I talked to them…”
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.