“Time’s up” – a devastating pronouncement for a procrastinator to face. We want to be “done.” We want to be ready to hear the words that mean our opportunity to act is over. We want to avoid regret. So now as former procrastinators, we do what needs doing when it needs doing.
This has come home to me as our family has gathered to bid farewell to my husband’s mom. He and I had the conversation about conversations.
Are there any conversations that need to take place? Is there any unfinished business?
Two especially important areas for conversation are asking forgiveness – or giving it – and expressing gratitude.
Often the Holy Spirit prompts action but we put it off. The more we put off talking with someone, the harder it is to carry out. The sooner we act on His prompts, the sooner we gain relief and restoration. Pressure is removed. We have freedom and peace. Failure to act makes us miserable.
In both cases two things are critical – time and ability.
We tend to assume that we will always have time. We won’t. Our time and the other person’s can be long. But it can also be suddenly, unexpectedly taken from us. As believers we know we can trust the Lord to be both sovereign and loving in these cases, but we can still struggle with regret.
Ability to have those conversations can also be removed. Age, accident, health can take away the ability to focus, process, or remember. Though we’re together physically with someone, the ability to interact can be hampered.
When apparent understanding has been affected we should not conclude it’s too late. It’s still worth talking since someone’s spirit can understand. We speak in faith.
How do we act on these conversations? How do we avoid missed opportunity? Pray, then initiate.
For the procrastination-inclined, it is tempting to say “I’ll pray for an opportunity.” That’s another delay.
We pray for prepared hearts and what to say. We make the first move; we initiate. We call or go for a visit. We can ask for a few moments alone in the hospital room.
Over the years Mom and I have asked for and given each other forgiveness. I’ve thanked her for her son and the good job she did. I’ve expressed my appreciation for her receiving me as her daughter. There is peace in our relationship and in our earthly parting.
There are others I should talk with. I need to pray and initiate the important conversations. Mom’s condition reminds me I want no regrets when time is up.
Who do you need to have an important conversation with?