The Weight of Non-Response
I traded my cell phone this week for a newer model. While I love shiny new toys, I’m always a bit hesitant to upgrade my cell phone because of what I will lose. As a sentimentalist, I hate losing memories.
When the Sprint representative handed me my new iPhone and asked me to sign in to my Apple account so we could get everything set up, I was surprised to see all of my contacts and apps re-appearing automatically. It even remembered my wallpaper.
“Why don’t you check everything to make sure everything transferred over correctly,” the representative said.
I checked a few other data points, not even considering that it might transfer my text messages. When I realized it had, I couldn’t have been happier — even though one of those messages was a sad reminder of the fragility of life.
On March 28, 2014, I sent a text to a friend who was dying of cancer. She lived 200 miles from me. I was texting to see if she was up for a visit the next day because I planned to bring a couple of other people with me to visit her.
Just one month prior, I stopped by her hospital room to see her while I was wrapping up a business trip. She knew she was in trouble, but she saw her situation through the eyes of eternity. She didn’t want to die, but if she did, she said wanted her family and friends to celebrate, reminding me of what Paul said in Philippians 1:21: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
As her health worsened over the next month, it became evident that gain was imminent for her. Wanting to see her once last time, I sent her that text on March 28 and waited for a response.
I learned later that she had already slipped into unconsciousness and would never wake up again. She died the next day.
When I look at the messages on my new phone, her non-response to my text is a reminder that life is short. We never know if this will be our, or a loved one's, final day.
Say what needs to be said. Do what needs to be done. Before it is too late.
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