The last word…

Hey ūüĎčūüŹĺ there BCU Family!

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As we bring our 2016 Loopback lessons series to a close, this question came up:

“If you knew the words you are speaking to ¬†your loved one, friend, family, neighbor, enemy or even a stranger, would be the last words¬†they heard or the last ones you spoke to them–would you really continue saying what you are saying? Or would your words be different?

Years ago, I worked at a bank and landed¬†(well, God placed me) in a department where the majority of employees were Holy-Ghost filled and/or grew up in church. As young saints, we loved going to one another’s services, gospel concerts, and sharing the latest teachings, revelations, heartaches and triumphs.

Eventually, the bank was bought out and jobs were lost, but I kept in touch close touch with a fellow named Henry. ¬†Henry was funny, goofy and could work a nerve, but the Lord also used him show and tell me a few things. We went from the era of paying our bills downtown (we called paying a smaller part of the phone bill “hush money” LOL), to paying them online, Jheri curls to clean bald, renting apartments to owning homes, buses to paying car notes, from records to cassette tapes, to CD’s to downloading music. Wow– a lot took place over the last two decades.

Sometimes, Henry and I would talk several times daily, other times, weekly or a few times a month. (Although Henry would text me and was very ACTIVE on social media. He would be sure to¬†comment about my latest Facebook post, picture or outing attended–and oftentimes with a smart mouth at that)! ¬†When we did connect via the phone, it was as if there had not been any lapse at all.

I spoke to Henry sometime in October of last year. I don’t recall the exact conversation at all. ¬†What I do remember? It was the last time we spoke on the telephone. Henry unexpectedly ¬†passed away the very next month. BCU Fam, I did not see that coming. At.All. *Insert heavy sigh.*¬†While my heart grieves at the loss of my friend, I give God praise for the almost 25-year friendship and that the last words we exchanged were not harsh, unloving or something regretful.

We often treat our communication very nonchalantly. When we ask “how are you?”, do we really want to know? ¬†Or is it another way of saying “hi.” Do we look for a opportunity to connect with someone, say at the cleaners or the market, or is our aim to get in and get out? You may be thinking, “well, Blen it is a stranger. Who cares?”

A few¬†years ago, I was a frazzled customer trying to make my way out of the checkout line in a hurry. I must have left a bag in the store or something, because I recall rushing back in only to be greeted¬†by a very pleasant-looking woman who asked how I was doing. I probably said, “fine” with a smile, but my heart was saying, “I really need to get out of here” as I kept moving. She actually stopped me, gave me the biggest hug, and then told me “now, you can go”. I was shocked by her act, but it warmed my heart and caused me to slow down. And to my knowledge, I haven’t seen her again. I can’t recall what I ate last for lunch last Tuesday, but I remember how much that “how are you doing?” blesses me even now. See what I mean?

Closer to home, is dinner with family and friends a time to look one another in the face and converse, or do we immediately pull phones out while we update one another on the Twitter news?  I recall being out to dinner with my family and catching a glance of another family of four or five who was waiting to be served. Everyone at the table, including the parents, were hunched over their phones. I think that was the loudest silence I have heard. How differently would the conversation had gone if they knew it was the last time they would all be together? What if the Lord had taken one of them from the group that night? How much regret would there have been?

Or, think about this true story: a son and mom get into an quarrel about a poor decision the son makes. Tempers flare, words are exchanged, doors slam and silence engulfs the house for days. Later that week, the son (who is in his 20’s) falls gravely ill and going in and out of consciousness at the hospital. ¬†As the young man finally comes to, he looks up at his mom and immediately asks “are you still mad at me?” Can you imagine that?! Think about how mom would have felt if that heated exchange would have been their last conversation. Thankfully, the Lord spared and healed the son–and taught the family a valuable lesson.

BCU Fam, please don’t start walking in fear about who may be departing from this life next–that’s not the intended point behind this post. Rather, as you interact with spouses, significant others, children, family members, friends, enemies or strangers, ask the Lord to give you the words to speak that will be a blessing to the hearer. ¬†Colossians 4:6 says, to let our speech be always with grace and seasoned with salt that we know how to answer every one. Even if we disagree or have to confront (in a godly way), or correct someone, we can still speak “seasoned” and¬†all the while glorifying God.

James 4:14¬†says we don’t know what shall happen tomorrow–our life is like a vapor. When you think about fog or a cloud of steam, it’s visible one moment and disappears the next. Vapor does make an impact while it is around, so with the help of the Lord, let’s say and do things that “add value” to whoever ¬†we’re speaking with. Amen? Amen.

BCU family, there is no doubt I miss my buddy Henry–my life will never be the same without him. And, if I had known our conversation would have been our last, it would have been a LOT different–with a heaping helping of love. But through his death, the Lord is still good in reminding us to be mindful of ALL our interactions. No one that we speak with comes into our paths by accident–God intended for those conversation to take place.¬†Will you allow the Lord to speak through you? That leads us to our question of the week!

With the help of the Lord, how do you plan to have meaningful conversations with the people you come in contact with?  Please comment below!

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Thank you SO much for stopping by! God bless you, keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!



In loving memory of Henry G. Nelson