Lesson From a Party With Friends

Do this before it's too late

This past weekend Kathy and I were able to get away and spend some time with friends; old friends we don’t see nearly enough anymore.

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The occasion was a surprise birthday party for our friend Mack. About 40 of us gathered at his favorite restaurant to celebrate him.

During the night a number of people stepped up to the microphone to share some thoughts about our friend. It was suppose to be a “Roast”, but as many acknowledged, it was hard to roast a guy who simply means so much to us. There were so many wonderful things to say about our friend, that roasting just had to take a back seat.

It was such a great time, reconnecting with people who we have been blessed to know for many years now. The night was a celebration of friendship and I loved that we were able to to give attention to a friend who has meant so much to so many. I was thrilled just to be a part of it.

As I sat and listened to one after another recount the numerous ways in which Mack has blessed them, a strange thought came over me; here it is; “I’m glad we’re doing this now and not at his funeral.”

I told you it was a strange thought, but let me explain.

I’ve been involved in a quite a few funerals over the years. Funerals in my personal life and as a pastor. In fact, the circle of friends that we were hanging out with on Saturday night has experienced more than our share of deaths over the past few years.

So this night was different. We weren’t gathering to memorialize a life that had ended far too early, but celebrating a friend who was still going strong…and it was awesome.

I wonder if we could be doing more of that? I need to do more of that.

Don’t wait until someone is gone to tell them what they mean to you.

Perhaps, a take away from the weekend is that we shouldn’t wait until someone has died to talk about how much they meant to us.

Instead, why don’t we take the time to tell them now, while they are still with us?

I’m not suggesting we don’t already do that, but this weekend reminded me that maybe I need to be more intentional about letting the people that mean the most to me, know that they do…and why.

  • Maybe we don’t express our love and appreciation for those closest to us because we simply aren’t intentional about doing so. Life is busy and it can just get in the way sometimes.
  • Or maybe we assume they know how we feel and we don’t need to repeat it.
  • Or maybe, it’s too awkward to share our feelings with a friend or family member.

Whatever the reason, maybe we can gain a valuable lesson from the birthday party I attended on Saturday. Here are some of my takeaways…

Be intentional: actually take the time to express our feelings to those who mean the most to us. Maybe it’s a phone call or a handwritten card (remember those?) or a few words of appreciation over a coffee. You don’t have to wait for a milestone birthday to do it.  A simple “Thank you” for something they have done or said etc could mean so much.

Push past the awkwardness: it isn’t easy to express feelings for most of us; maybe guys even more. So what. That isn’t an excuse for not doing it, in fact, it’s actually more reason to do it. If it’s awkward and unnatural to tell someone what you appreciate about them or how much you love them, maybe that suggests how meaningful a simple exchange could be…for you and them.

Don’t wait until it’s too late: if attending a lot of funerals does anything, it reminds us that our days are numbered and we don’t know how long we have with those around us. So why not take every opportunity to let them know how we feel about them.

Practice makes it better and easier: If you typically keep things to yourself, sure it may be uncomfortable at first to share your feelings with someone else…start small and get better at it.

Look for opportunities to encourage someone: We can encourage people all around us whether they are close friends & family or not…

  • A simple compliment on how someone looks, or their strength at work….while you’re at it, tell their boss as well.
  • When you introduce them to someone, share something special about them.
  • Tell someone how they have encouraged you or inspired you.

Q. As you read this, who comes to mind? How have they impacted your life and how can you express your gratitude? 

Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…” Hebrews 3:13

What’s stopping you?

 

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