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"Lasts" - again

Today I had something else in mind but the LORD wanted to me to share this again so, take time to consider "Lasts" and what He's wanting to say to you. 
Lasts are very important to me, they always have been.  They are cherished memories, a "snap shot" held in the heart, if you will.  Last calls, last visits, last words...  I have a confession here. Because they are so important to me and handwritten notes are a lost gift, I keep several years Christmas cards tucked into the ornament box. Each year I take the previous years out of the box and re-cherish each one, holding one's love in my hands - pressing it into me heart. If it happens to be the "last" one I will have received it is reverently placed in a box my mom made for me.  But only after spending time considering what those last words represent...  One such treasure is from my Grandma Losey, whom I love dearly. She sent our family a letter when we lived in MO - she shared her gift of "hand written" love generously! That short note, folded in thirds then once over, wishing us well and sharing her heart heart with us, burns brightly still in my minds eye even this twenty years later. Last letters.

Pastor Dan loved people, all people and he wore Hawaiian shirts almost every weekend to church services. He made it his first priority to make everyone he met feel welcomed with a handshake, hug and his famous smile. He sought out those who would have been passed over by most. That is his heart. I was heading upstairs on an errand and he was headed in to church. I paused, wanting to share with him my excitement about getting to work together soon, as I had just been hired earlier that week, but then remembered the task at hand just as he looked up. I raised my hand in a "will catch you in a few" wave he smiled and we both continued on. That was the last time I ever saw my friend. That memory is so vivid, burned into my heart - his big smile, the glow that radiated from one who has been in the presence of God, that mustard yellow Hawaiian shirt I was going to tease him about.... Last chances.

I shared with a friend once about "lasts" and how they impacted me. They didn't understand. I shouldn't have expected they would - it's not until you've lived through a few that you actually even experience them, let alone gain an appreciation...

At my Momma's memorial my Dad shared about "final pages" of life. We'd been keeping a journal the last months of Momma's life and as the last few were completed, then the final one turned, it became a tangible truth before our eyes...  A life chronicled, lived well but most importantly, finished well, full of grace.  It is because she, after running well, finished the race well that she was surely greeted with "Well done, my good and faithful servant".  Last pages.

For isn't that really most important? Take a minute to let that land - consider lives of people who have gone on before you and how they are remembered. Though pinnacle moments of their lives may surface, they are either magnified by a life come to conclusion well or overshadowed by last years lived poorly. A lifetime of goodness can be drown in a few short years, or even less, of sinfulness.  Beginning well is one thing, finishing well is everything...

The last two days before Momma entered God's Glory she was coherent less and less. As I was adjusting her pillow she awoke bright eyed. "Good mornin' sunshine" was my my greeting to that precious moment. Her response was  arms thrown about me, pulling me close. She whispered "I love you" into my ear, branding it into my heart.  I knew in that moment that this would be our last hug and we held each other long. I didn't want to let go, it had to last me until forever... Last embrace. 

My Momma was a woman of few words but they were laced with love, wisdom and compassion. We honored her life with remembrances of words that framed her life. Listing them here will only cause the tears to flow again and they've only just paused from the remembrance of a most intimate moment... 

Suffice it to say - words are powerful, and last words - words spake in the knowledge of the weight of time slipping quickly away- these are most precious. These must be treasured, for they cost breath - life breath. Last breath.

Consider some of Christ's last Words before He surrendered His earthy life for our eternal souls; "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." 

Yet, we hardly consider though, that any words spake could be our last. In harried moments on steps. Impatient instructions as morning routines begin. Angry shouts as cars pull out of the drive. Silence as doors close - even unspoken words wield great power.  Last words.

There are moments I hold tightly, almost holding my breath, until another has come, because I wondered if it would be last.  For one day, it will...  


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