John went to a men's Bible group a few years ago that met at Starbucks. He came home one night and said he met a young college student-- a funny, smart, super-nice guy who was far away from his family in California, and do you think we should invite him over for dinner one night? Sure, I said.
So in a week or so I met Luke for the first time. I think I made enchiladas. He did certainly have a sense of humor, an obvious zeal for life, good manners. He spoke about his wonderful family back home, and his dream of being a successful businessman. What struck me most about Luke was how easily he engaged in conversation with us and how quickly he connected with our kids. The kids LOVED him, and begged to have him over again. And so our relationship with Luke began. He started coming over to play Wii, or RockBand, and to watch movies. He helped John with projects around the house. And of course he would come over for home cooked meals and even brought a friend a time or two. He spent one Thanksgiving with us.
Luke told us that he loved hanging with our family because he too wanted a big family. :) He knew he would have to pick a special woman, one that could handle six kids (ha!) and so our family and our home soon became the 'ultimate test' for any girls he dated. Yes he brought three different girls over, and apparently they all failed the test because he remained single. :)
Luke was full of life and adventure. I am quite certain he managed to pack more fun and adventure in his 25 years than most of us can in a lifetime. Every time he came over he would tell the boys about his adventures rock climbing, mountain climbing, canoeing, fishing, cliff diving, etc..
Exactly one week ago Luke, who was in California visiting his parents, wrote on his facebook status: "Luke has a new favorite thing....Freediving for lobster at night!"
I commented: "Luke I think you were born in the wrong century."
How I wish I had left this comment instead: "Luke you are such an amazing guy. I love your zeal for life, your fearlessness, your freedom. I wish I had more of it. You are an incredible role model to my kids, a godly man with noble character. You are they kind of man I hope my daughters marry someday. You would be a wonderful father. We love having you in our lives, and we are so glad we have had the opportunity in this life to know you. Thank you for taking the time to take my boys fishing, and for letting them reel in the fish even when you were actually the one to catch it. Thank you for helping us build the fort. Liesel still talks about it. Thank you for tossing Hope up in the air and catching her, and dancing with her. You made her feel pretty special. Thank you for stroking Ava's bald head, and smiling at her, and telling her she is beautiful. That meant the world to me. Thank you for being a friend to John, and for telling me you like my cooking. You're a good friend and we are sure glad we have the privilege of knowing you."
That is what I wish I would have said.
Please friends, go call someone you love. Tell them you love them. Tell them what you love about them. Forgive them. Make plans to see them soon, Invite them for dinner this week. Write something nice on their Facebook wall......
You never know when it will be the last time.