Everyone Is Dying

by Jan Silvious

Consider these words from a thoughtful writer:

"Our attitude to all men would be Christian if we regarded them as though they were dying, and determined our relation to them in the light of death, both of their death and of our own. A person who is dying calls forth a special kind of feeling. Our attitude to him is at once softened and lifted onto a higher plane. We then can feel compassion for people whom we did not love. But every man is dying. I, too, am dying."

If you knew your wife, your husband, your child, your mother, father, friend were dying, what difference would it make in your treatment of that person today? It would be difficult, even cruel, to stay angry with a dying person, for example. Yet we forget that with each day that passes, each of us is nearer death.

I hope these words will make a difference in your life:

"Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end;
Yet days go by, and weeks rush on,
And before I know it a year is gone.
And I never see my old friend's face,
For life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men;
Tired with playing a foolish game,
Tired with trying to make a name.
Tomorrow,' I say, I will call on Jim,
Just to show that I'm thinking of him.'
But tomorrow comes—and tomorrow goes,
And the distance between us grows and grows
Around the corner—yet miles away
Here's a telegram, sir.'
Jim died today.
And that's what we get and deserve in the end:
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

It's really not my intention to make you feel guilty about procrastination. I put things off, too—writing that note to a sick friend, making a phone call to an old family friend in Georgia, dropping in to pay a visit to a shut-in, staying in touch. We all plan to do those things "one day." But "one day" seldom comes. Maybe it would come sooner if we remembered that each of us is dying.

Why not choose one person who needs to hear from you today, and make a contact? Say the words you want to say but have been putting off. Pray for that person, asking God to bless in a special way.

*Charles Hanson Towne in Poems that Touch the Heart, A. L. Alexander, Doubleday, 1941.

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