Love as if it might be your last
Jesus Wept. (Jn. 11:35).
One of my favorite quotes by G.K. Chesterton goes something like this: “The surest way to love anything is to remember that at any moment it might be lost.” I try to remember that quote daily. It’s especially handy when it comes to loving my wife on those days when she can be a little hard to love. And, knowing that she never has any need of remembering it since I’m rarely hard to love brings me smug satisfaction. While visiting Sheryl’s mom recovering in Dallas the last week of June (after she was involved in a serious car accident), we got a phone call from my sister back in Denver informing us that my 91-year-old dad was experiencing breathing problems. I told her to take him to the emergency room at the V.A. hospital ASAP. We’d be home soon. It turns out that my dad had contracted COVID-19 on Father’s Day from what looks like a brief introduction to the neighbor’s foster baby. By June 30, he was experiencing all of the symptoms of the Coronavirus, and on July 4th (with only a dedicated V.A. nurse by his side) his family, which included my mom—his wife of 66 years—had to watch via FaceTime as my dad died.
The morning of Father’s Day, I had visited my dad at home to wish him a “happy one” and he was so proud to show me how he could ride his stationary bike as part of his recent post-hip surgery therapy. He loved to ride his adult trike and couldn’t wait to recover from surgery to get on it again. I had hugged my dad that morning for what turned out to be the very last time. A microscopic virus found its way into my dad and killed him. Even at 91, he was the strongest man on earth and easily could have lived another decade were it not for that damn virus. I love the fact that Jesus “wept” when Lazarus died. It makes me love Jesus all the more. He knows. He feels. He weeps. I try to apply Chesterton’s quote to all of my relationships. It helps me focus on today. Loving people today. Yesterday is past and cannot be redone. Tomorrow is not here yet or even guaranteed. But, I have today. I have this moment, right now, to love others. And I may not have another.
Prayer: “Jesus, thank you for eternal life and for the hope it takes to face each day on this earth. Thank you for the many loving contacts I’ve received from sisters and brothers in this region when my dad died. Thank you for weeping and being so outraged at death, that hideous interrupter of life, that you would die for us so that we could live again. You are so good. Amen.”
Rev. Kim Skattum
Pastor to Pastor
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains