Monday, February 27, 2012

Best of All...

You've seen them, I'm sure...lists of famous last words. Around here, the most common last words you may hear are, "Hey y'all! Watch this!" In the words of Jeff Foxworthy, if you hear someone say those words, especially in the South, pay attention. It may be the last thing you hear them say.

All joking aside, we pay attention to last words of those around us. When my grandfather passed away, the last conversation he and I had was about taking care of the farm. He took me around the farm and we spent the afternoon going over his final instructions for me. We both knew his time was getting close, but neither really knew how close. Then the last thing he told me was, "Son, you're going to have to take of this place for your grandma."
And then there are these: some "alleged" last words:
"Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose." - Queen Marie Antoinette after she stepped on the toe of her executioner.
"I should have never switched from scotch to martinis." - Humphrey Bogart
"Dammit! Don't you dare ask God to help me." - Joan Crawford to her housekeeper
"Hey fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? 'French fries'!" - James French, convicted
murderer, to the members of the press there to witness his execution.
"Now, now, my good man. This is no time for making enemies." - Voltaire, when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.
Whether or not those are historical, or even remotely accurate, I have no clue, but they do make for good conversation.
There's another deathbed quote that I think we should be at least as familiar with as those above, but you won't see this one in many "Top 10 Greatest Last Words" lists..."And best of all, God is with us." - John Wesley, March 2, 1791.
I have talked to a lot of folks lately who just seem lonely. It's a bad cliche' but they are lonely even in a crowded room...friends of mine, colleagues, folks in the church, and especially now that we have begun Celebrate Recovery. What seems to be missing in so many lives, is genuine, compassionate, honest, and consistent companionship. A lot of folks feel like they are struggling against the current and no one is there with them to offer any type of support or help. In fact, it's almost epidemic.
Now, I know that with the economy like it is, job security being non-existent, and any number of other contributing factors, life is tough all around. Which makes these last words even more important.
I'd like to share a quick story, leaving out names intentionally. At a meeting I was at recently, a friend of mine was talking about a friend of his that had been coming to him for help. This guy had made a bunch of mistakes, and had made them repeatedly. Late one night my friend's phone rang and it was this friend of his, sobbing. He was trying to find healing from a circumstance in his life (I'm intentionally being vague) and said to my friend, "You can't leave! You're all I have!" When those words sunk in, my friend told him, "Then you don't have very much," and hung up the phone.
Now that sounds harsh, I know. Was it the best way to deal with this person? Maybe not, but the point my friend was trying to make was that if all his buddy had was their friendship, then he didn't have much. Why? Because he had forgotten, or had never heard, Wesley's last words..."Best of all, God is with us."
That's something I try to remember every day, letting them soak into my soul. Why? Because sometimes the path that I have chosen is a lonely one. Aside from family and a circle of friends, I have difficulty letting folks in. It's my own doing, I know. But as long as I can remember these words, and as long as I can hear them for the truth they are, I know that I am never alone. Today I was reminded of that through conversations with some of my friends.
Best of all, God is with us.

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