This last week was full of death. No one that I knew personally, but several of my friends here in Costa Rica and Minnesota have lost family members or friends. One uncle was diagnosed with cancer and died within a few days. One teenager was killed in a car accident. One father was shot in the back during a robbery. And another man was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone went crazy and sprayed bullets through an office.
Statistically speaking, between 250,000 and 300,000 people die per day. So the chances are that death will brush up against your life sometime. But isn’t it sad that so often when a loved one dies, we feel like there was so much left unsaid. We say pretty things at the funeral, but during their life, we let days and weeks and months go by without telling our loved ones how we feel about them.
Why wait for the funeral? You should tell people how you feel about them before they die. I know that sounds morbid, “um, just in case you die today… I want you to know that I really appreciate you.” You don’t have to tell them WHY you’re slathering them with compliments. But vocalizing your good feelings does more than leave you with a clear conscience at a funeral. It makes LIFE so much sweeter.
Mark Twain is famous for saying, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” But a good compliment can actually have a much longer shelf life. I still remember compliments from my childhood. My second grade teacher said I was the neatest at cutting with scissors of all the kids in the class. My 4th grade Sunday school teacher said she liked how I prayed to God in a familiar style (as opposed to a formal style). I still remember many, many little compliments.
More recently, my husband (who is a man of few words) told me he loved my hair. I can probably count on one hand the number of times he’s spontaneously complimented me. Though he shows his love in a million other ways, words are not his “go-to” Love Language. But it meant a lot to me! A lot!!
You may be like my husband and feel like words are not your strength. You many feel like, “my wife knows that I love her, I don’t need to SAY it.” But what if… just what if… today were your last day with her. Are you sure you’ve told her enough times that you love her? Do your children know how much you love them? Have you told them lately? Do your friends know how much you appreciate them and why? Have you told them?
Why wait for the funeral? Words are free! They are free, yet so precious. Don’t be stingy with your compliments. Don’t hold back your admiration or appreciation from your friends. Tell them today. Tell them what they mean to you. You never know how much time you have to express how much you love someone. Don’t wait for a funeral.