I hurried into the emergency room waiting area to enfold my friend in a hug, a hug that I wished could take away all the pain. Her eyes were red and full of more tears as she told me that the prognosis was not good.
"Always tell your children good-bye when they're leaving. I wish I had gotten up and told him good-bye," she sobbed as she spoke of her 19-year-old son who had been in a head-on collision with a large pick-up truck on his way to work that wintery morning. He had sustained serious head injuries as well as multiple fractures of arms and legs.
My friend had a good relationship with her son, yet as she faced the possibility of losing him, her first thought was of bettering that relationship by having told him good-bye. I reassured her that he did know that she loved him and she nodded sadly.
And we are left with the thought - how are our relationships?
First of all, how well are we clinging to our Savior? How much do we seek to have our minds renewed by Him and the Word He has given us? How much are we obeying His commands? How frequently do we get together with His people in corporate worship? How deep is our personal worship? How full of the fruit of the Spirit are we? Are we walking humbly before Him? Do we love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength? Do we trust Him in hard times like the death of a son and friend?
Then, do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Are we willing to forgive? Are we humble enough to ask for forgiveness? Do we put others first? Are we happy to inconvenience ourselves for the good of others, even in little things? How do we speak to and of each other? Are we looking for the good in each other, or are we too full of criticism? Do we care enough for each other that we are willing to do the uncomfortable and ask each other how we're doing spiritually? If we see someone struggling with their faith, do we condemn or do we seek to lovingly guide them? Are we willing to go out of our comfort zone to introduce the faith to unbelievers?
So, it seems that what matters most in life and in death is relationships.
Make them and keep them good.