By “Deacon G” Gautrau
This morning I woke up dead. I know it because I just read my name in the death notices.
It came as such a surprise to me. Yesterday, I got up, bathed, and had breakfast. Before leaving for work, I looked in on my wife to tell her goodbye, but decided not to wake her since she was sound asleep. I then went to work.
About mid-day, I called my wife to see how her day was going and to tell her I love her, but she was out and about running errands. I also wanted to tell her I would be late coming home since I had a meeting to attend. I knew she wouldn’t mind, since last night was her monthly night out with the girls. I also wanted to apologize for the disagreement we had the day before about something I considered insignificant at the time, but now have come to realize its importance to her.
When I got home, I noticed my son had called to tell us how our grandkids were doing and to do Facetime on the phone, where we could actually see and talk to them. That’s always a treat since they live out of town and we don’t see them as often as we’d like. I didn’t return the call since I figured it would be better to do it when my wife could also share this special time.
It was getting late so I decided to go to bed. I didn’t wait up for my wife to get home since I wanted to get to work early today.
How could I have known that I had lost the last chance to see my wife, to hold her, to touch her, to feel her warm embrace, to share time with her, to tell her how much I loved her? Will she forgive me for our last argument? And what about my son and our grandkids? Will they forgive me for not returning their call? Will they know that I had a good reason for not calling them back?
I didn’t get to say, “Goodbye.”
I now realize how precious time is and how important a little moment becomes, when we can’t have it back.
How many times did the opportunity present itself to do good for someone else and I failed to act? How many times did I hurt someone through words or actions and either didn’t realize it or put the blame on them? How many times did I let my pride get in the way of my humility?
Will I be remembered for what I perceive are the good things I did in life or will a moment’s lapse in judgment cause me to be labeled a villain?
I wish I had the time to go back and amend my life. I wish I could make up for all the wrongs I’ve committed. I wish I could tell all those I’ve hurt how sorry I am. I’ll never get the chance.
I read the Bible. I knew the words from Matthew 24:42-44, “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of the night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
I wish I had shared this message with my friends and family so that perhaps they will not make the same mistakes I have made and so that they could have a restful night without fear of not awakening.
If I could go back for only one day, I would spread the message that now is the time to ask forgiveness of those we have hurt, and to tell those we love how much we love them.I would also ask God to forgive me for all the ways I have hurt him by breaking His commandments. I can’t believe that I failed to heed His words to “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) I now fully understand what that means, but it’s too late.
(Author’s note: While the above story is fictional, I hope the message resounds as much with my readers, as it did with me when I was writing it. My hope is that it is thought-provoking and will move some of us to change our lives, now; knowing that if we don’t get a chance to say goodbye, we will have done all we could during this life to merit warm remembrances from those we knew and loved and that we will share eternity in heaven with God.)