Joy can come from most sorrowful times

By Debra Whittington

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; Ecclesiastes 3:1-6

The last few weeks went by like a whirlwind. It was a time of joy and a time of mourning. It was a time of joy getting to spend several days with Mom and other family members. I couldn’t get over at how much my little great-niece and great-nephew grew since I last saw them.

It was a time of joy spending a weekend with Mark at marriage enrichment retreat at Glorieta. This is our 23rd year of attending and each and every year we learn something new to help us grow closer as a couple. I thank the Lord for the 30 years we’ve spent together.

In the midst of all of the joy was a time of sorrow as we said goodbye to Mark’s aunt. We saw her about three months ago and remember fondly that last visit with her. She was very close to her family and very proud of them. In her home were numerous pictures of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren. We heard story after story of times spent with her, but one of the most touching was a tribute from her great-granddaughter that she read at the funeral. It touched me so deeply that I asked if she would share it with me. I also got her permission to share it in my column. Here it is:
“One Last Time”

By Shelby Whittington
One last time I wish I could hold your hand
One last time I wish I could give you a hug
One last time I wish I could give you a kiss on the cheek
One last time I wish I could say I LOVE YOU!
One last time I wish we could spend the day together at least one last time
One last time I wish we could spend the holidays together
Just one last time that’s all I wish for is one last time
All those one last times will never come true though
All I wish for now is that you be with me forever, but that one wish has already come true.
You will always and forever be in my heart.
One last time I wish I could say Goodbye
I guess now is my chance, Goodbye Ma Maw
I’ll always and forever love you

Her words reflected how I felt about my own Grandma who I said goodbye to three years ago. We spent so much time together during my lifetime, but like Shelby I wish I had one last time to be with her here on this earth. I think about her so often and miss her deeply. I am so thankful for the years I had her in my life and the profound influence she had on me.

The writer in Ecclesiastes said there is a time for everything, but the question is are we making the most of that time? It’s true that there is a time to laugh, a time to cry, etc., but I also believe there are times that we need to let people know how special they are to us.

I have a good friend who just lost her mother. She told me one of the hardest things right now is the knowledge she can’t pick up the phone and call her mother. Still, she is thankful for all of the phone calls with her mother and the visit with her just over a month ago.
We can reflect on wishing we could have “one last time” with a loved one, but more important is focusing on telling our loved ones how much they mean to us right now while they are still alive. I challenge all who are reading this to go see someone who means a great deal to you and let them know how much you care. If you are unable to go to them, pick up the phone and give them a call or write them an encouraging note today. We never know when it might be the last time.