Do you remember in detail the last conversation you had with someone before they slipped away from you forever? I have a few such memories of old girlfriends and other tornadoes that quickly tore through my life, but I can’t tell you with any detail what the last conversation with my grandfather was like. And I’m at a loss to remember the last meaningful face-to-face conversation I had with my father before conversations became just so much small talk on the phone. Now he’s battling dementia and I’m not sure what the next face-to-face conversation will be like, but it will never be what it once was.
You don’t remember because you don’t believe it will be the last time you’ll ever have that conversation. That last time they asked you how you’re doing and really wanted to probe deeper into the answer. Not “what are you reading now?” or “how was dinner last night?”, but meaningful connection built on familiarity and trust.
I’m particularly good at dodging this connection with all but the most persistent souls. I wonder if I’m offering a strong enough “last time” for those who might remember me sometime when I’ve forever slipped away from them. It’s something to work on.
Last time mocks next time. We all think they’ll be another, and put off things we ought to get to sooner. We’ll see you soon turns into we never got the chance. Take the opportunity while it’s still available. Because there are so very few next times.
This, friends, is the time.