Monday, October 28, 2002
When our friend Rich went for his annual physical, the doctor proclaimed him totally fit. Three days later he went on a business trip. That night his associates found him in his hotel room, dead of a massive heart attack. Later, his wife Linda told us, "We had some beautiful weeks before Rich died. And every wife I see, I tell: 'Cherish your man.'" Their kids had not been able to be with their folks on Easter, which turned out to be the Sunday before Rich's death. But Martha, his daughter, followed this prompting she had to call Dad and say she loved him that day. And Paul, his son, wrote Dad to tell him in writing what he had never been able to say to him - "I love you. You're the best Dad in the world." That was Sunday. Wednesday morning, Dad was gone.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Cherish While There's Time."
The experience of Rich's family is just another reminder that we need to cherish those we love while we can. We never know which hug will be the last hug, which "I love you" the last one, which "goodbye" the final goodbye. Now, the point of remembering that is not to be maudlin or to be anxious all the time. Our times are in God's hands, so they're in good hands. But it is important to realize that life is short at best, and we need to live in such a way that we do all those "I wish I had's" while we can still do them.
Moses wrote a psalm - Psalm 90 - and it contains our word for today from the Word of God. Psalm 90:12 says it succinctly and powerfully. "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." God seems to be saying we have no days we can afford to waste, so make every day count. That's the key to living wisely.
And I hear the echo of our friend Linda's words, "Cherish your man." Or your woman. Or your mom or your dad. Or your grandparents or your loved ones. Tell them you love them so you'll never have to be sorry that you didn't. Tell them the things you appreciate about who they are and what they do, so you don't have the sorrow of wishing you had.
If conflicts, walls and gaps have developed between you and someone you love, don't let them stay there any longer. Say what you have to say, write what you have to write, forgive what you have to forgive, apologize for whatever you need to make right. Do whatever it takes to remove that wall. Whatever the issues, they can't be important enough to risk leaving that relationship broken when it's too late to repair it. Being right with that person you love is so much more important than you just being "right."
And if someone you love may be feeling neglected, overlooked or marginalized right now, you've been very, very busy. You've been very occupied. It's time you reserve time regularly to spend with them. Put it in your calendar. Everyone and everything else screams for your attention, but the people who love you often are just a whimper or a whisper. But they have to be the non-negotiables of your schedule. Let everything else revolve around them instead of them having to revolve around everything else.
If the horror of that September 11 taught us anything, it taught us that it can all be over so quickly. So, make today count. "Number your days aright" ... make each day count.