Linda Summers

Linda Summers

Recently, I visited a family member who was in intensive care. I was having a busy day with a long list of things to do, but I had a meeting in a community near the hospital and decided I’d take my lunch and visit him briefly. When I entered the room, I was surprised that his entire immediate family had gathered, and although he was stable, it was “touch and go” the day before.

I hadn’t seen this family member for quite some time. I had missed the reunion and had every good intention of calling or visiting, but, well, life got busy.

As I approached the bed, he reached out his arms to embrace me and commented how wonderful it was to see me; how he has missed me. I returned the comments and began to feel badly I hadn’t made an effort to do so before this day.

As he lay there resting, he looked at me and said, “It’s so nice to see so many of those that I love gathered here. You know, this meeting could have been at my funeral, but I’m alive and here to enjoy it.” He closed his eyes with a peaceful smile on his face.

I stayed longer than intended that day, and during my drive home, I shed a few tears and asked the Lord to forgive me.

I asked the Lord to forgive me for being too busy, too self-consumed, too focused on my own comfort to take time to simply make a phone call, send a card, or schedule a visit. I asked the Lord to help me make time to let others know that I care to show them that they are important.

The following week, I visited a friend who has had a very difficult time these past few months. A medical condition has caused her life to be turned upside down. One thing that surprised her in her condition were those she thought would be there for her whom she hasn’t heard from. We talked about the reasons behind such things. Maybe they are busy. Maybe they feel uncomfortable with sickness, etc. I could see the pain in her eyes as those reasons seemed trivial when faced with the fact that she is lonely and struggling.

Although I have made it a priority to support her, I knew that I am guilty of such things for others in my life.

I think you could agree, life is busy, but let’s be honest, we could make time. We could turn off our favorite show one evening a week, rearrange our schedules and make a few phone calls, stop by our neighbors for a visit, or send a card to an ailing friend. As the saying goes, “We make time for what is important to us.” Shouldn’t people be what are most important in our lives?

Maybe we can start this week. Maybe we can be intentional with our days, to include others that need to feel “remembered.” We are surrounded by a multitude of friends, family and acquaintances that would love to hear from us. Let’s not wait for the next funeral to gather and talk. Let’s make memories, add smiles and share hugs now. May no one that we consider dear, ever feel neglected or unloved — only valuable, worthy and appreciated.

Linda M Summers is a pastor at Trinity Christian Fellowship.

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