My husband was recently visiting our friend Judy and she shared this sobering letter written by her friend (who remains anonymous) here in our small town. Judy’s friend wrote this to her neighbor after hearing of her unexpected death after surgery:
It’s too late to say, “I’m sorry,” for the mean-spirited words I spoke. Too late to ask your forgiveness.
All you wanted was a friend to do “friend-stuff” with, to share smiles and laughter, shop, maybe a movie- I don’t know, whatever else friends share.
I didn’t take the time to know you. I didn’t care about your feelings. I was too wrapped up in my own.
I missed a chance to do a little bit of good in this world by showing a little kindness to one of God’s children.
Instead, I caused pain, so I’m sorry- so sorry that “it’s too late.”
My promise to you is I’ll do better. I’ll listen more closely, and be kinder.
I’ll be quick to say “I’m sorry.” I never again want to say it’s too late.
The crazy thing is that Judy’s friend almost threw this letter away until Judy snagged it- realizing the value in it. I’m so glad she did because I think it needs to be shared with the world. My husband and I were deeply touched to the point of tears after realizing we were familiar with the woman who passed away.
This letter made me search within my heart and ask the question, what kind of person am I to other people?
It’s also a beautiful and gut-wrenching reminder to reach out to those who are different– who I may never even consider being a friend to.
It’s a reminder to get my eyes off myself, and onto the needs of others.
It’s a reminder that the words I do or do not speak matter.
It’s a reminder that everyone’s fighting some kind of battle and needs patience and understanding.
I’m reminded that even a smile, invite to coffee, a text or phone call to say I’m praying for you, and a genuine interest in someone’s life can make a world of a difference.
Friends, may we open our arms wide to those who are hurting.
May we not be so easily offended by the actions and behavior of others- hurting people hurt people.
Sometimes, the only thing a person needs is a friend – definitely not a critic or a nose constantly pointing up at him or her.
May you and I live with no regrets. To always open our hands, our hearts, and our homes to other people who God has made in his image. May we choose kindness and love over cruelty and hate.
Because tomorrow’s never promised, let’s choose forgiveness today so that in the future we’ll never have to say,
“It’s too late to say I’m sorry.”
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mother to four, and writer in rural Colorado. She’s the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. To read more from Samantha, visit her blog: www.samanthakrieger.com She also enjoys connecting with readers on Facebook and Instagram.