My Dad used to tell me stories about several people he knew who, while grieving the loss of their spouse, were worried that they hadn’t told them recently, or often enough, how much they loved them. My Dad and Mom were life-long lovers, best friends, adventurers, disciples, and happiest when they were together. He thought such worries were sad. He occasionally would say to me, but daily showed me via his relationship with my Mom, that there should be no doubt as to your love. You should often show and tell those you love how much they mean to you.
My parents’ love was infectious. Their love was so rock-solid that they could be generous to others. They were funny and caring, they would jerk you up if you didn’t behave according to Hoyle, they were kind to those who needed some kindness shown to them. Twice, battered women showed up on our doorstep, and my parents took them in, hid their vehicles, and tended to them until it was safe for them to go home. My parents volunteered much time and talent in teaching young people to read, in doing pro-bono legal work, in visiting the sick and infirm, in leadership and teaching within their church and in civic groups.
Many things have been written in the past day about the life and wisdom of former first lady Barbara Bush who died yesterday at the age of 92. They have told of the 73-year marriage to the love of her life and former President, George H. W. Bush. There have been many memories shared about Mrs. Bush and the things that she cared about. Her husband held her hand all day yesterday and was with her when she died. Her son, former President George W. Bush said, in part:
Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end.
It doesn’t matter if you live to be 110 – it will still pass too quickly. Never put off until tomorrow what you need to do today. I really don’t believe that anyone looks back on their life and wishes they had attended another meeting; won another case; spent longer hours on the job.
Think about and attend to what matters. Relationships matter. Laugh with your spouse. Say “I love you” often. Be exuberant. Invite a friend over for a meal. Meet your neighbors. Volunteer at the old folks home. Wish people happy Wednesday. Look up at the stars. Send someone a party in a box. Take a walk in the park. Take a hike in the woods. Enjoy the swingset. Jerk your child up when they need it. Hug them often. Celebrate birthdays – the older you are – the longer your celebration should be. Give thanks to God. Tell the truth. When you tell someone, you will pray for them – write it down and keep praying for them. Never sell your vote. Clean up your language. Be the kind of person that others know they can turn to in time of trouble. Buy art from a struggling artist. Look up your old friends and give them a call. Tip well. Be generous with your talents and time. Share your passions. Teach someone a new skill. Share your hobby. Enjoy picnics often. Love your country. Be of good cheer. Recycle your books. Rub your honey’s feet. Offer to babysit so a young couple can go out on a date. Teach your kids how to read, cook, use power tools, sew, garden, change a flat, read before they sign, enjoy music, appreciate art, and remember birthdays. Make sure that they know that it is wrong to steal and tell lies, that they are chosen and precious, that they are children of God, that they are loved by you. Dance under the stars. Give your sweetheart full-body hugs. Be thankful for all of your blessings. Be generous. Be loving. Be kind. Have fun.