I don’t think so and here’s why. I’m well acquainted with death…I’m basically my last living family member on both sides. I was raised an only child just like my mother, so when she died, that was it. My (adoptive) fathers’ family all died young, including both of his siblings…in fact, he was just 39 when he ran out of time waiting for a donor heart. My grandparents are all gone too and all of this happened by the time I was 36. I’m not sharing this to give you a sob story, but to tell you that the things that really matter on your death bed, is how much you loved, who you loved and who loves you back and is spending that last day with you.
I want to tell you about my son Andrew. Andrew died in 2003, 41 days before his 7th birthday. He was a stellar and lively boy who loved any kind of sport almost as much as he loved people…and cake…he really loved cake.
Andrew had an incurable and rare disease and was diagnosed just days before his 6th birthday. The doctors clumsily predicted that he would likely live until he was twelve. I remember very poignantly being in the kitchen alone, lighting his birthday candles that year and wondering how many more I would get to light. It was his last birthday.
At some point, a few months before he died, we were talking with our 20-something associate pastor and he said something that made me want to punch his lights out. He said…”You know...it’s kind of a blessing that you know he’s going to die.” At this point, I had about seven expletives running through my head! But he followed it by saying “You get to love him harder, stronger, and deeper and cram a lifetime of love into whatever time he has left.” Whoa…profound!
And although Andrew was super lovable and loving and we likely were already doing it, we might not have been as intentional about it until after our pastor said it out loud. Love is meant to be lived out loud. Love is intentional. The intentionality of it makes it more valuable.
Andrew died a few months later and after the dust settled, as we talked about him with family and friends, I came up with one phrase that described the lesson that Andrew had taught all of those whose lives he touched. The hallmark of Andrew’s life came down to this: ”to love beyond what you can see.”
And it wasn’t about loving ANDREW beyond what we could see, because he wasn’t difficult to love or at all unlovely. It was how he loved all of us. He loved everyone…he treated everyone as if they were valued by him and he SAW them, really saw them and love them anyway. He would run out to the car when he saw friends pull up and ask them if they wanted a drink before they even got into the house. Even when he was near the end, weak and tired, he used all of his energy just loving on people who came by to see him.
What does this have to do with Dating? Loving like everyday is your last has everything to do with it. Sometimes we are so worried about the hurt, the risk, the potential loss of love that could be lurking around the corner, the possibility that nothing lasts forever, that we stop trying to love at all. We guard up our hearts and close up shop or if we do date, we make the other person work so terribly hard to prove they are worthy of our time, attention and love, that we end up self-sabotaging the thing we say we so desperately want.
Remember, love is always worth the risk. Although the words may sound trite, “To love and lost is better than to have never loved at all” it is certainly true.
When you get to your own last day…wont it all boil down to the love you’ve given and received in your life? Isn’t it worth it and all of the lessons you learn along the way? I think it is. If you open up your heart and life and be vulnerable to finding out, I think you will find too, that loving like every day is your last is a gift you can give yourself.