We are not guaranteed tomorrow.
My wife had to make a trip back home recently because a longtime friend of hers passed away. The day she left I found out a woman to whom I was once engaged passed …
We are not guaranteed tomorrow.
My wife had to make a trip back home recently because a longtime friend of hers passed away. The day she left I found out a woman to whom I was once engaged passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving her husband, kids, father, siblings, and multiple other family and friends behind in shock. I hadn’t spoken with her since we separated around 35 years ago. Sure, I wondered how she was doing, and prayed for her when I had such thoughts, but I never sought out those answers, knowing it would be unwise to open up communication with her again. So, I never searched for her and never even asked her brothers how she was doing, despite staying close to them via social media over the years.
Still, discovering that she had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away brought out a strange set of emotions in me. That, coupled with my wife’s friend’s death, and some new knowledge of complicated goodbyes, I might have to say to a bunch of people I have grown to love … Well, let’s just say, it had me quite reflective.
I forged through my day, working in one of my “out of the county” offices, and doing a lot of physical labor. I stayed busy to avoid dwelling on so much negative energy. My focus was on getting some physical projects done. Knowing my commute would be well over an hour back home on that Friday during rush hour traffic, I decided to keep working until much later. Besides, no one was home, and I didn’t want to sit in traffic because my mind would inevitably revert to dwelling on all these goodbyes.
Oops, I failed. Traffic was at a stop-and-crawl pace for a long time, so I was stuck, thinking. Of course my mind reverted to dwelling on all those goodbyes.
After my marathon trek home, I was already primed to not dwell on such negative things anymore. I had prepped myself to tenaciously stay positive and avoid those negative thoughts.
I failed again. The next day I learned why traffic was so bad the night before. My mind immediately went back to all those goodbyes, again.
You see, a 42-year-old man had “fallen” to his death from the Capitol Boulevard overpass onto the shoulder of Interstate 5. If you’re familiar with that overpass, you know it has been fitted with fencing which deters people from jumping to their death onto the highway. Yes, it has unfortunately been a thing people do. It’s just much harder now.
In order for a person to fall from the overpass, he or she would have to climb up the fence and over to the other side of it — no easy task. According to witnesses, the man left his shoes on the overpass before he climbed the fence. It seems obvious, at least to me, he fully intended to end his life that fateful night (actually right around midnight).
My heart and mind kept going back to thoughts of the brevity of life, the frailty of relationships, and the uncertainty of the future.
Additionally, I couldn’t help but think about how I must make an extra effort to pay attention to the people around me — people I know and people I don’t who might be struggling so much they don’t see a point in trying anymore. I want to notice the people who need to be noticed. I want to value the people who don’t feel any value. I want to love people the way Jesus taught us to love people.
I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to let people in my life know I need them in my life. Too often as a pastor, chaplain, and counselor, I hear people say things like, “How come they didn’t know I needed them?”
The people I know need to know I need them in my life. I cannot wait to make that clearer. I must remind them over and over. Nothing must be left unsaid which ought to be said.
We cannot change the past. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We must concern ourselves with what we can do today.
After reading this column, don’t waste any time. Call, email, text, speak face to face (or mask to mask), or however you choose. Show the love of Christ to people who desperately need to be reminded. Do this without delay. People won’t tell you how much they need to be needed, so it’s our responsibility to remind them right away.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries.” – Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 6:34, ERV)
If you or someone you love are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you or someone you know needs other mental health support find help on the link below: https://www.tmbhaso.org/crisis-information.
Pastor Jeff Adams is a longtime community leader, victim advocate, counselor and chaplain. He ministers internationally, nationally and locally. His column appears online weekly and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here