Occasionally I receive an email that makes me laugh out loud. That was my reaction when I read the following:
Two 90-year-old women, Rose and Barb had been friends all of their lives.
When it was clear that Rose was dying, Barb visited her every day.
One day, Barb said, “Rose, we both loved playing women’s softball all our lives, and we played all through high school. Please do me one favor: When you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there’s women’s softball there.”
Rose looked up at Barb from her deathbed and said, “Barb, you’ve been my best friend for many years. If it’s at all possible, I’ll do this favor for you.”
Shortly after that, Rose passed on.
A few nights later, Barb was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to her, “Barb, Barb.”
“Who is it?” asked Barb, sitting up suddenly. “Who is it?”
“Barb – it’s me, Rose.”
“You’re not Rose. Rose just died.”
“I’m telling you, it’s me, Rose,” insisted the voice.
“Rose! Where are you?”
“In Heaven,” replied Rose. “I have some really good news and a little bad news.”
“Tell me the good news first,” said Barb.
“The good news,” Rose said, “is that there’s softball in Heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we’re all young again. Better still, it’s always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired.”
“That’s fantastic,” said Barb. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams! So what’s the bad news?”
“You’re pitching Tuesday.”
You’re at least smiling, right? Maybe even chuckling. How can you not? Still, the message is sobering. What if you and I substitute our names for Barb’s? What if we were told that we had less than a week to live? If you’re like me, all my time would be spent on relationships, hugging longer and more intentionally, making phone calls that should have been made months (years?) ago, having deeper, spiritual conversations with those close to me, asking forgiveness of those I’ve wounded.
Last week, I attended the funeral of Tim Bloomfield. Tim woke up Tuesday morning, having no idea it would be his last. He and his wife Sheryl were going to run errands. He called his brother, ended the conversation with “Later,” and hung up.
But there was no “later.” And the same will be true for all of us. Every second could be our “latest,” bringing us closer to eternity. We must prepare, and no, I’m not talking about getting our arm in shape for the Heavenly softball match. I’m talking about what Jesus referred to as “the greatest commandment:” Love God above all else, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
And that, Readers, is no chuckling matter.