Just over a month ago, I attended a funeral for a family friend. Ed, Dan, and I were going to be in Florida anyway, for a wedding, and my mom had suggested I visit Leslie in hospice when we visited as it would likely be my last chance. I suppose I refused to accept the reality of her condition, and said something like, “I’ll think about it.”
Leslie passed away a few days before we even left Indiana. Instead of planning for a visit, I wound up packing a pink dress for her funeral. Pink was her favorite color, in a way that most people don’t commit to favorite colors. Hot pink, bright pink, pale pink. So many people wore shades of pink to the service that it looked more like a wedding than a funeral.
As I sat between Ed and my father and stared at her pink-and-gold casket, I kept thinking about how easy it would have been to Skype, FaceTime, or just call her on the phone in case her timeline was shorter than my mom had expected. I’d been deluded. I tend to assume I’m going to have more time, even when it’s unreasonable to think so. My eyes don’t seem to open until the last grains of sand are slipping through my fingers.
I suppose the hourglass for moving out of Florida started when Ed and I got married last March. We’ve both been aiming to leave that place for years, but when we got married and could move together, it became a near certainty.
By summer we were seriously praying about where, when, and whether to move, and we made the decision to join our friends in Indiana. We got boxes and packed superfluous items and got rid of really superfluous items and worked to get the place ready to sell by October. Even though we never actually got the house listed, by the grace of God a friend suddenly expressed interest in buying it himself. In October, we bought a house in Indiana. On November 29, 2015, we left Florida behind.
We do still have friends in Florida. And we liked our church in Florida, and we made friends there in the year and a half we were members. I don’t take those friends for granted. But I’d always assumed we’d have time to get to know more people better. Lifepoint’s the kind of church where people actually want to be friendly and honest and connected, so it should have been easy. But Ed and I are both fairly introverted, and kept going back to the same people we already knew. Even though some people talked to us at church events, until somebody threw down a lunch or dinner or coffee invitation it couldn’t really go very far. For whatever reason, we just didn’t.
I figured that eventually, we would. Eventually, we’ll talk to this guy on the worship team or that woman we know from Bible study. At some future gathering, we’ll start a conversation with that couple who seems friendly. On some future Sunday, we’ll ask if they’re free for lunch. Someday.
And then before I knew it, we were about to leave, and in a weird sort of limbo where we couldn’t commit to much of anything and everyone saw us with one foot out the door.
In our last month, as I watched the grains of sand run out, I stared helplessly around the church at people I had meant to talk to, but didn’t. People I’d talked to a little, but not much. It’s not like I couldn’t see, at the end, where the time had gone. I knew.
Today I’m shy, tomorrow I’ll do better.
Next week I’ll do better.
Next interesting church class I’ll do better.
And then the hourglass was empty.