“This could be our last breakfast,” I solemnly said to Tom one morning last week. Events of the week had propelled my thoughts into last times and last things.
Last week a dear family friend had two strokes and given a poor prognosis; another friend lost an adult son, totally unexpected. Our daughter lost her aged mother-in law. Even though the family knew her time was limited, they lost someone very precious to them. At the funeral one of her sons shared his last time with her. He had helped with feeding her dinner, kissed her good night. “I had no idea that would be my last time with her.” It had been the final good bye.
. . . the last time. . . there are many meanings for last. Final, end, ending, eventual, decisive, closing, climatic. Some of these definitions can be good, positive, expectant of something better, different. A friend had his last day of work this past week. Retirement opens a new door for him. The last day of elementary school means your child is finally entering high school . . . that glorious time where new adventures await. Then there is the last day of that education trek and college waits.
So is life. We find ourselves on one stage; the curtain goes down, and life opens on another.
But what about the last time . . . the very last time for life, for breath? That’s what I meant in the comment to Tom. He reached for my hand, and said, “Yes, Barb, it could be.” A tender, tearful sharing followed about living in the NOW.
Tom’s first funeral fifty one years ago was for a thirty-seven year old father with four young children. He had been mowing the lawn, a very ordinary part of life; he came in to rest on the couch as he sensed something was wrong. That death had a powerful effect on me as a young wife and mother. Still, today, it affects how I view and have always viewed life and marriage.
I have today. . . this NOW. It has been important that Tom and I do not let anger linger, that we face and discuss our differences quickly. I have focused on loving him today, because I may not have tomorrow. We always hug (and not just a quick, generic hug.) when one of us leaves the house for the day, for a trip. It could be the last time. This is the only way to love. I am convinced I cannot live fully this moment without accepting the fact that I may only have this moment.
I wear this pen one week a year. I wear it unashamedly with passion and gratitude for the man I love every moment. An older pastor’s wife that I loved dearly and from whom I learned much found this for me thirty five years ago.
Jesus said in John 10:10 that he came “that we may have and enjoy life and have it in abundance—to the full, till it overflows.” Amplified. I would add that these words are more clear, more alive to me as I have learned to live in the Now, trusting the Lord, following Him in . . . the moments I have today.
One of my favorite verses for marriage is Deuteronomy 24:5 . . . “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent off to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Isn’t that an absolutely great plan! You know what? Tom and I forgot the part about one year. We have chosen to live out this principle for fifty-five years . . . bringing joy and happiness to each other. Of course, we have failed many times, but this goal remains our focus.
This is not a sad or morbid post. It is a lovely way to live. Perhaps you need to begin this Valentine week to focus on the NOW . . . to live and love each moment . . . with the one you love. With your children. With your brothers or sisters.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him . . . each moment (my insertion) . . . so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Living this moment NOW . . . it could be my last . . .