My Dear Friends,
I write in the aftermath of an earthquake that has devastated Nepal. The current death toll is over seven thousand souls and will only increase. The suddenness of this disaster brought back a memory following the outrage known as the Bali Bombing on the first of October, 2005. On that occasion 20 lives were lost (and hundreds injured) in an instant. I received a postcard from Bali about a week after the incident which had been posted before the event. It had come from my nephew who had been there since the September. It turned out he was less than half a mile away when the bomb went off. It brought home to me just how much we take for granted. And that is the feeling I have with this earthquake too: how precarious is our grasp on life.
The following words may help us to consider how we treat people, in the light of the fragility of life:
If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly, and pray the Lord your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time that I’d see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss, and call you back for just one more.
If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would tape each word and action, and play them back throughout my days.
If I knew it would be the last time, I would spare an extra minute or two, to stop and say, “I love you,” instead of assuming you know I do.
If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day, well I'm sure you'll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away. For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight and we always get a second chance to make everything just right. But just in case tomorrow never comes, and today is all I get, I'd like to say how much I love you, and I hope we never will forget tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, and today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today? For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day that you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss, and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today, and whisper in their ear, that you love them very much, and you'll always hold them dear. Take time to say, "I'm sorry," "Please forgive me," "Thank you," or "It's okay." And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.
Norma Marek, Tomorrow Never Comes, 1989 Adapted
If this is true for us at a human level how much more do we need to think at the spiritual level? If this be the last letter I get to write to you. What should I say? Go with Christ; live for Christ; Christ be in you and with you. Or do I ask: Have you told Jesus how much you love Him? Or do I ask the questions: Do you know Christ? Are you His?
In posing these I aim to show my love for Him and care for you. Read Acts 2018ff to see how the Apostle Paul put it.
Let us make the most of the time God has given us, living and working for Him and having no regrets about today.
Lovingly yours in Christ,
Rev John P F Martindale, BD