Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Last-time lessons

AS SOMETHING of a sentimentalist, the past couple weeks I have spent a fair amount of time sniffing back the tears as I have gone about everyday life. The reason: our imminent leaving of Orlando after almost 20 years for a new home near the beach on Florida’s Panhandle.

While I am looking forward to all the new things that are in store, of course, I am sad about pretty much everything we are leaving behind. That’s made almost every venture out an exercise in letting go.

“This may be the last time we’ll drive past here,” I have said to Marcia on numerous occasions, with a lump in my throat. She has quietly nodded agreement, occasionally with a raised eyebrow silently asking what was quite so moving about the store where we have bought watch batteries on maybe three occasions? Or the dog park we took Woodley to precisely once?

Admittedly, my wistfulness is a bit overdone, but there are some last times that have been worth a tissue or two:

  • Last times with nearby family
  • Last times with dear friends
  • Last times with our church family

I have found myself trying to bottle every moment, as if I might be able to pour it out and enjoy it again at some stage.

It’s made me wonder how we might act differently if we went through all of life with the perspective that every situation and encounter could be the last time. Which, of course, it actually may be, for we all we know that life can turn on a dime.

Conscious that we will not be here with this person again, might we not show a little more kindness, compassion, patience, appreciation, thoughtfulness, care? Might we listen harder and speak more kindly, knowing we won’t have an opportunity to come back and undo—or redo?

Whether it’s the customer service agent who has me on hold for a long time, the person at the grocery checkout, or a well-paying client, I’d like to interact with each of them in such a way that people who remember the last time we intersected have a positive memory of the experience. Or, at the very least, not a negative one.

Photo credit: codepo8 via Foter.com/CC BY

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