I heard a song on the radio today that got me thinking about goodbyes.
You never know what moment will be your last with someone you love. I've heard many stories from people wracked with guilt because their last words to a loved one were angry. Sometimes the words weren't even angry, they just didn't express love. And when someone passes away, you want to know that your love was on their heart.
Most of the time you have the chance to say goodbye to someone. But sometimes you don't. And if there were ever a reason for expressing your love to someone, it's that sometimes you don't get to say goodbye.
You're going to fight with your loved ones. It happens to the best of us. You're going to go to bed angry, you're going to leave for work in a huff, you're going to hang up on people. But get pride out of the way. Pride is a nasty beast that has no place in a relationship. Even if you think your loved one is wrong or rude or ridiculous in that moment, don't let pride have the last word. Express your love before you part.
I can't tell you how many times I've gritted my teeth during a fight and told Jeremy I loved him when one of us was about to walk out the door, or go to bed, or hang up the phone. And he's probably done the same with me a hundred times more often. But when you live your life like we do, with the firsthand knowledge that your loved one might not be alive when you wake up in the morning, pride gets tossed out with the weekly trash.
In my Bible study group last night, the leader asked us who we would be willing to lay our lives down for. One of the women spoke up and said her children. The leader said, "Children, definitely. Probably not our spouses, though, right? Hahaha." The room erupted in laughter and everyone nodded in agreement -- except me. I spoke up over the roar and said, "I'd lay my life down for my husband. Absolutely." The leader said, "Really? You're a special woman." I just laughed and said, "He's a special man. And we believe strongly in marriage counseling."
A few years ago I probably would have been husband-bashing right along with those ladies. And I still laugh along with my girlfriends about how silly our husbands can be at times. But when I drove home last night, I realized that in the last year Jeremy and I both had taken pride completely out of our marriage and replaced it with love. And if one of us goes to heaven tonight, the one that is left on earth can rest assured that love went with them.
Sure, I still worry sometimes about losing my loved ones. With my experience, who wouldn't? But I never have to worry about them knowing how I feel about them. "I love you," spills off my lips easily and frequently. And if you asked me what the most important change has been for me since the loss of my daughter, I would answer this: I love harder, more openly, and with no pride.