Recently, my life has had a theme of holding loosely, letting go, and saying goodbye. We said farewell to our old sheep, Brie. I sent off friends to college. We had to let go of Jimmy. So many different kinds of goodbyes; some simple, some temporary, some so difficult I couldn't even think. But it's all leading towards a principle of life that it too valuable to go unnoticed.
I learned this lesson again a few days ago when we woke up to find that my sister's guinea pig, "Chub-chub," had passed away during the night. As you can see, he was one adorable little thing. Personally, I think guinea pigs are generally ugly and stinky. But this little guy had the cutest face, wiggliest nose, and funniest way of snuggling up in your arm. So he took away the ugly part of my impression. (Not the stinky part, though...)
Saying goodbye to Chubby was a lot different that things like losing Jimmy. Barely even comparable. However, both of these experiences, along with the many others, point to that lesson.
People won't always be here. Maybe they'll leave for college. Maybe you'll leave for college. Maybe they'll pass from this life. Maybe you'll pass from this life. However it happens, you never know how long you'll have with someone. So we have to love. Now.
After Brie died, I couldn't help wishing that I'd spent more time out in the barn rubbing her head, thinking about a sheep and it's shepherd. As Rachel was getting ready to leave from Patrick Henry College, I was wishing I'd been able to see her more, wishing I'd realized more what a blessing that time I had with her was. When Jimmy went to see Jesus, I wanted nothing more than to be able to sit down with him and glean from his wisdom, learn how he loves, and let him know what an impact he had on me.
And of course, I do kind of wish I'd cuddled that little Stinky guinea pig some more.
Life is brief, time is limited. Loving is urgent. At every moment, every opportunity, step out and love. Tell people what they mean to you. Speak the words of encouragement that you think. Serve every chance you get because you never know when it might be the last chance you get.
Who in your life needs love? Who can you think of that you can encourage? What service can you do for someone?
Don't put it off. It leaves nothing but regrets. Instead, look around you with the eyes of Jesus. See each and every person made with God's hands and love them. There's no good reason not to.