Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Too Little, Too Late

I remember walking through the house. It was very dark and there was a somber atmosphere. Many people were around but it was eerily quiet. I walked through the entrance to the kitchen with my head down. Aware of my surroundings, at the time, I couldn't understand why everyone was so sad. The whole time I was wondering around, I felt a familiar presence around me. Someone I loved was there walking with me, but I was too concerned about other things to acknowledge him. Everything was a blur. My eyes were swollen, tired and full of tears.

I was searching for something. I was rather dazed and confused as I moved from room to room. I couldn't find what I was looking for. As I walked into the master bedroom, it hit me. I fell back against the wall and slid down until my knees hit my chest. I couldn't catch my breath as I tried to let out the anguished scream that was trapped in my gut. All of a sudden the familiar presence of my husband was gone!

I don't know how long I sat there, but somehow I got from there back to the kitchen. My body felt as if it was weighed down by the weight of the whole world. I heard her come from behind me. She was a familiar face. I remembered the sweet lady that always brought a wonderful breakfast for us at the church. She came up beside me to drop off an aluminum foil wrapped dish on the corner of the counter. As she set it down beside me, she said, "You knew it would be too little, too late."

That is the moment I rapidly sat up in bed; heart racing, chest pounding... I. was. bawling! I turned over grabbed my husband and held him tightly. It was a wake up call and I knew exactly what, "too little, too late" meant.

I hardly ever sleep all through the night, much less have as vivid a dream as that one. Most of the time I don't dream. So I knew, when I woke up from that dream, God was trying to tell me something. It rocked me to the core. God was revealing to me what it could have been like to have lost my husband. As hard as it was to come to that realization in my dream, it would have been much worse had the dream been as descriptive in what happened to him. I believe God spared me of that.

Even now, as I type this story, I am in tears. That dream was a revelation, an awakening, that I am afraid too many other people don't have until it is too late. That little four word statement, was about LOVE.

Greatest is Love

God gave us the greatest gift; to love and to be loved. I have been married 21 years. Unfortunately, it took me so long to realize that much of that time, I have wasted loving more of myself than I have him. I was far too concerned with other things; putting other priorities in place of loving others. It took that dream to wake me up and realize I have wasted so much time not loving others enough; husband, kids, family, and friends.

Some people don't get the opportunity to make things right, change a trajectory, and live happily ever after. Many people have to wake up and turn over to face an empty indention beside them. An empty space filled with a lifetime of memories not lived. Accidents turn opportunities to forgive into regret and moments to make amends lost. Unfortunately, sometimes a tragedy is what has to take place for us to come to the end of ourselves and realize this life is not about us. There is more. There is a greater power that exists beyond ourselves.

God gave us the precious gift of marriage. A sacred covenant made between a man and a woman to love until death, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better or worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health. Too many times, couples forget that vow. The sanctity of marriage diminishes and the love once shared between them vanishes in a fog of selfish worldly priorities.

If I can leave anything with you, it is to remember that life is short. We don't always get the opportunities tomorrow that we do today. There is a common quote I want to remind us of, "Live well, laugh often, and love much." Don't wait until it's too late to show people you love them. Open your heart to Jesus to allow him to fill in the broken spaces with all His love so that you can in turn love others as much as He loves you.

I read this verse in 1 Corinthians 13:12-13. Paul says, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain; faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."

For too long, I lived for myself. I loved myself more than any one else. I lived as though I was the reflection in the mirror; an imperfect image of what God intended me to be. As I have drawn closer to God, He has turned me around to see Him face to face; to see how broken I am. I have come to the end of me and now know my Father's unfailing love. Now, I know in part... one day I will know more fully as I am fully known by God. I know I am loved by the Father and His love never fails. Let us remember His love so that we can be that love for others.

"Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-38

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