Relationships Without Regrets

Life limits what we can do. The weather, health, and circumstances build walls which restrict our movement. But it’s not the same with words. We can access them anytime, in person, print, online, or phone.

That’s key in relationships, because so much depends upon communicating with our family, friends, and others. For me, that translates into sharing my thoughts while I’m thinking them rather than waiting until later. For one thing, I may forget to say something, and for another, windows of opportunity pass.

How often have we wished we had complimented a worker, thanked a teacher, congratulated a friend, or merely expressed admiration, only to have have the moment slip away? The words were in our minds, but never made it to mouth or mail.

The importance of keeping short accounts was reinforced to me after my father died, four days short of Father’s Day, 2005. He never was able to travel to Philadelphia, and so he never visited our church or home here. But the Lord graciously orchestrated events so that I could be at his side as he departed this life.

We had followed the ambulance to the hospital, which was only ten minutes away, and after the nurse showed us to his room, I held his hand as he slowly lost consciousness in a peaceful, painless passing. There was no panic. Neither of us searched for words.

Death always brings sadness, but it need not bring remorse. As I reflected on our times together, I realized that Dad and I had no unfinished business, nothing left unsaid, no loose ends, no regrets.

Dad was a man of few words, but read widely, and kept up with current events. We had managed, over the years, to talk about everything from his World War II experience to his high school sweetheart. We laughed hundreds of times when he would relate events from his forty-three years in heavy construction, including his adventures before he met Mom. I knew many of his work place friends, and still could tell you their stories (those fit to repeat).

He had become a believer when I was ten, and many times he spoke of how God had blessed his family, and wondered out loud (since two of his sons were pastors, and the third a lay-preacher) how anyone could know the Bible well enough to put together a lesson or sermon.

He knew I loved him and respected him as a hard-working, good Christian and father, because I had told him so. I knew he was proud of me and my family, and loved us, because he had said the words.

He rests in peace, as do I.

“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today. . .”
Hebrews 3:13

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