Just Say It!

Just Say It!
In today’s Life Tips, I’m going to be a bit vulnerable. I’m not gonna lie – it’s been a rough ride for this Life Coach since early December.
Long story short I have been with my parents in Oklahoma and watched one of my earthly heroes, my Step-Dad Harry, pass away as I stood by his bedside. Many of you have been through that difficult time as one of your loved ones faded away into eternity, and know how emotionally draining it can be. I learned a lot about God’s grace and presence during that time. The verse in Psalm 23 says “when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me” not only applies to the one going through the death transition, but to those who walk through it with them.

But there is one more important lesson I re-learned through this experience. And that is the importance of saying the three words “I love you”. It goes without saying that those three words are the most important words we can say to those we cherish in life, but sadly enough those three words too often literally “go without saying”. In this day and time of hustle and bustle, with everybody running here and there, hurrying through life and its demands, many of us seem to unconsciously forget to say those words. We just either assume they know or we tend to replace those words with deeds. While it is honorable and noble and right to “show” our love through our actions, it is also equally as important to verbalize those words. I was reminded of that in a vivid way on my Step-Dad’s death bed and I will never forget it.Harry was a retired Army chaplain and a third generation pastor. A great human being. He married my Mom 16 years ago. He and I had a special connection, and I really had a special admiration for him. I often told Harry I loved him and hewould tell me the same. Harry was a widower before he met my Mom, and he only had one child, a daughter. Without going into detail, let’s just say that he and his daughter had a strained relationship. He had tried many times to help her in the past, but to no avail. Communication was minimal, to say the least. Fast forward to Harry’s last days….

Harry really struggled in his final 5 days, and we thought we lost him many times, only to find he would keep hanging on. I just attributed that to Harry’s strong resilience, a trait that he and I both shared. I kept thinking he was hanging on because he didn’t want to leave Mom, although we all knew the writing was on the wall. One afternoon Mom and my niece thought it would be a good idea to give it one more try with his daughter who lived in town and see if she would come by to see him. She surprisingly agreed and came over. As she and I were standing over Harry, I simply made a comment to her saying how I thought that even though Harry could not respond physically, that he could hear us talking. She looked at me and said, “Really? Do you think so?” I said “Yes I do”. Without hesitation she just blurted out, “Daddy, I love you.” She immediately repeated it again, this time louder, “Daddy, I love you!”. As soon as those words were said, Harry took a deep breath and went to be with Jesus. I’m not kidding. This was real. This was raw. It happened just like that. Then I knew in an instant why Harry had been holding on. He wanted to make sure there was some sort of reconciliation with his daughter. When she said those words to him, probably for the first time in who knows how long, that was all he needed. I cannot begin tell you what that also did for her.

When I told that story to my wife Tammy, she made a commitment to kiss me every day and say the words “I love You”. And she hasn’t missed a day yet! And neither have I. No more letting the busyness and the wear & tear of life keep us from saying those three important words. So my life tip – my encouragement to you today – is to simply say those three words to those you love while you still have them here with you. Your spouse, your kids, your parents – whoever it is. Because you never know if you are ever gonna get that chance again.
Soar On!
Life Coach Charlie