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Letter to the Editor: Acting in Life; before Death

I have been impacted by two events this past week. The first one is known worldwide. It is the death of Queen Elizabeth. Possibly less than 100 people know about the second. The death of my brother-in-law. There is very little, if anything, that these people had in common in life. However, in death, there are three things worth noting about them both. 1) They were in their nineties when they died. 2) They both lived in England. 3) The third thing worth addressing is much more relevant. I am experiencing much regret due to not having understood and knowing more about them and not communicating enough while they were alive. Of course, communicating with the remarkable Queen may have been a challenge, as I did not know her personally. But for my brother-in-law, there is no excuse.

His death has prompted me (a prompting that I believe is from the Lord) to become much more dedicated and active with others in LIFE, recognizing that at any one time, it might be the last opportunity to do so. This need to change my passivity has been shown to me in the past, particularly when I am at a funeral. I have frequently felt deep regret that I didn’t know about a lot of that person’s life and experiences. That comes from a failure of mine to be in a healthy relationship, to actively communicate and also to be able to affirm that person while they were living. It reminds me of the need to fulfill the second great command. The first command is to be in a relationship with the Lord and the second one is to be in a relationship with each other. Both are sourced from genuine love. (Matthew 11:37-39)

My sister sent me an email just after her husband’s diet. What really jumped out at me was the last two sentences. “Many people are writing to me about how much they loved him… very heart-warming indeed.

Although I am kind of sorry that he is not able to read all these emails.” So sad; expressions of love that may never have been communicated to him in life. John 10:10, “… I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” I believe that a major component of “abundant living” happens through being in healthy relationships with others. This can only be accomplished through regular communication methods, most preferable, face-to-face. This includes affirming, encouraging and appreciating them. In other words, being able to express to them directly how we feel about them. In this time and current culture, it is possible that maybe 90 percent of calls and contacts we receive from others are motivated by something they need or want from us. Can you imagine how a person might respond when they are contacted by someone who has no hidden agenda (i.e. that benefits them), but the caller just genuinely cares and is interested in that person’s well-being? In the past, I have made this type of contact (of course, not nearly enough), and the response that I have received is amazing. I encourage us all to try it today. Most likely, you will be surprised and blessed by the response you receive and what follows. And they WILL respond because they are still living, so it’s not too late.

Rob Pullan, Uxbridge

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