To everything there is a season…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
I still remember the phone call. It was the mid-1960’s. I think I was almost three years old. My mother was sitting on the step-stool that sat below the wall-mounted phone and began to cry. She had just received news that my father had been killed in a car accident. He was driving a beige Volkswagon ‘bug’ when he swerved into the path of an oncoming semi-truck. They think he had either leaned over to adjust the radio or to light a cigarette, and that split-second distraction cost him his life and changed Mom’s and mine forever.
We had moved to Indiana for my Dad’s job. I don’t think we knew too many people then, but the people we knew were kind and caring. Most caring of all were Larry and Sue, the friends who gave us a room in their modest (and by modest I mean small) ranch home. They took us in, letting us stay with them and their three children (in the small ranch home) until Mom could find a job and afford to support the two of us on her own.
Looking back now I realize it couldn’t have been easy for any of the grown-ups with all of us living together like that. It was great for me, though! I had three play-mates and have only fun and happy memories of being with them. I can still picture the pink brick house and remember the red berry bushes along the sidewalk. The only bad memory I have of my time with them is when my finger got smashed in the screen door. Ouch!
Not only did Larry and Sue set their needs aside to accomodate ours, they also introduced my mom to the man who would become my second father. Their kindness and generosity gave me a future and led to a wonderful life. I was raised by a loving father who is now also a wonderful grandfather for my children.
I’d love to say that through the years I kept a close relationship with Larry and Sue; that I kept in touch with them, visited them, and showed them the appreciation they deserved. Instead, I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago when I learned that Larry was dying of cancer that I realized what an important part of my life they’d been. I’m even more ashamed to admit that I couldn’t bring myself to call or write and share the things I shared with you – even though their address and phone number are sitting here on the corner of my laptop.
Now it’s too late. I learned tonight (July 6th) that Larry passed away on July 4th. I have now shared my thoughts with Sue in a message to her, but I failed to let Larry know how much I appreciated him and what a difference he made in my life.
In addition to failing someone who was special in my life, I failed the Lord, too. He has given me the gift of words and I failed to use them to reach out when I needed to. I wondered what I could say, how I should say it, and kept thinking I’d send a message later. I failed to trust God to give me the words He wanted said or that He knew my heart needed to express. I’ve apologized to Him.
So why do I share this with you? Well, I guess part of me feels the need to confess, but more than that I hope to encourage each person who reads this to ask yourself if there is ANYONE who needs to hear from you. Is there someone you want to thank? Praise? Appreciate? Admire? Show compassion? Send love? Forgive?
If you have words on your heart, please don’t delay.
Share your thoughts with others right away!
We have no promise of tomorrow, only today.
– Renee Myers 7-7-08
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer. – Psalm 19:14