“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34
A friend died today. And I am brokenhearted.
She was my age with a husband whom she adored and two young children.
Her death came as a shock since I hadn’t expected it. I hadn’t planned for it. I hadn’t said everything I wanted to…or needed to.
I wasn’t there as she passed from this reality to the glorious presence of her savior. I wasn’t there to console her husband and children. I wasn’t there to mourn her death and celebrate her life with the others who loved her. I wasn’t there….
Today I found out that my friend died…seven years ago.
How did I let time pass without reaching out? Why did I allow a move and the busyness of life to separate us?
Yes, I can use the excuse that I was just too busy or that she could have made an effort too, but those don’t mean anything now that she is gone.
She did call years ago and I was too busy, too into myself to dial her number. And then as time passed when I would see her number I was reminded that I owe her a call, but the years created too big of a gap to cross. Would she be kind when she answered and I said, “I’m just returning your call…5 years later”?
The answer is a resounding Yes! She would have welcomed me back into her life as though no time had passed…as I would have her. I know that now, but then I wasn’t so sure. Not as a reflection of her – she was beautiful inside and out – but as reflection of how I saw myself.
I have only recently learned to truly love myself. I now extend myself the same grace I extend others, but that wasn’t always the case. And I wasn’t always so gracious toward others either.
Until I learned to love me, I couldn’t truly and completely love others. I couldn’t forgive myself for letting years demolish a beautiful friendship so I assumed she would feel the same about me.
But I know now that all of the insecurities, all the doubts about others’ love for me were lies the enemy told me to keep me isolated, hurting, discouraged, damaged.
And today I am brokenhearted. I believed and lived those lies for so many years and a beautiful friend slipped away without another word from me.
But Jesus said that He came to heal the brokenhearted and to set the captive free. And while my heart is broken over this shocking death, I will not be held captive by grief or guilt.
Instead I vow to love, love, love my friends; to tell them how much they mean to me; to not let time pass without closing the gap life can create.
I will begin with you. Simply because you’re reading this we are connected. You are a part of my life whether in whole or in part. And I am grateful. You are beautiful and talented and full of potential. You bring hope and life into a world that so desperately needs Jesus. You are truly extraordinary and all of us are better people because you are in the world.
Today is a new day to love. I’m in. Are you?