Monday, February 25, 2013

I'd rather be in Philadelphia

Rumor has it that W.C. Fields' last words were, “I’d rather be in Philadelphia.” Isn’t it interesting the things that are on the minds of individuals who are about to pass from this life into the next?

Here are a few last words that caught my imagination….

“Lord, help my soul.” -Edgar Allan Poe
“Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” -George Bernard Shaw
“It’s very beautiful over there.” -Thomas Edison
“Jesus, I love you, Jesus, I love you.” -Mother Teresa

Since the beginning of Lent, in my sermons we have studied the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross. I haven’t given much thought to what I would like my last words to be; have you? In fact the one thing I know for sure–no tombstone for me. Just a little marker with my name and nothing more. That will be just fine.

It’s important to keep our words kind and gentle, never knowing when those words may be the last heard from us. As we pass through this Lenten Season, it’s a good time to ponder our daily conversations with others. The Good Book says words can either curse or bless. Using our words to be a blessing seems the clear-cut way to go.

Years ago I lost a dear, sweet friend, Mark Hollowell. Many of you Sardis members miss him too. He was special. He died of cancer, but he never stopped being a blessing. One day near the end of his life, when he was in great pain, the doorbell rang. It took all of his energy to walk to the door, but he made the effort. His son, Adam, helped steady him as together they opened the front door and greeted a neighbor who had baked Mark a homemade cake.  

Well, Mark went on and on about the cake and her kindness and the neighbor lit up like a Christmas tree. When she left, Adam turned as said, “Dad, why did you say all those things? You hate this kind of cake!”

Mark smiled and replied, “It only takes a few kind words to make someone feel special.”

Those were not Mark’s last words, but they have lasted a long time with me. And I bet they stayed with Adam and the neighbor, too.

Let’s all make someone feel special this week, what do you say? While the words you say today might not be your last, they certainly can leave a lasting mark on someone’s life.

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