Friday, November 13, 2015
My last conversation with Shirley
As I thought back over the years to when I knew here, I found it difficult to put a time frame on when it happened. If I figure correctly, it must have been about 20 years ago.
I was working in the bakery of Das Dutch Hause in Columbiana, Ohio.... for the second of three times I worked there. That is when I met Shirley. She was probably in her late 40's or early 50's and worked in the kitchen. There are some people who when you meet, you just hit it off and can tell they can take a joke...... and Shirley was one of those people. I had to go through the kitchen fairly often, so I ran onto her there or in the break room, or even outside throwing trash in the dumpster. And every time, we'd rag on each other. We'd joke, toss insults and other teasing remarks at the other, and always walk away laughing. She was a funny lady.
I'll never forget the last time I saw her, or the conversation I had with her. She was sitting in the break room when I walked through, and I said hi and asked her how she was doing. She told me she had been having bad headaches the last couple of days, but was good other than that. I remarked "I can't see why, you don't have anything in there." She laughed, made a funny remark, and I went on my way.
I had a couple of days off, and came back a couple of days later to find out that Shirley was gone. Those headaches she had been having for a couple of days? Those weren't normal headaches, and she was dead before I came back to work.
And I felt like a jerk. Here the woman was dying, though no one knew.... including her, and I came off with a funny remark about her head being empty. I can still remember telling my little sister how I felt, and she had some wise words. She knew Shirley, and knew what our relationship was like, and she said even if Shirley had known, she would have laughed and taken it because that is how we talked to each other. And maybe so.
But all of these years later, it has come back to me. I don't know if Shirley was a Christian. I am pretty sure she wasn't...... and I never talked about Jesus to her. I didn't know she'd die unexpectedly, but should that matter? Shouldn't we talk about Jesus to everyone?
We never know when we may have a last conversation with someone. Life is uncertain, and none of us know when our last day will come. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, yet we live as if we and everyone around us are going to live on this earth forever. We should make the most of every moment, and let everyone we meet know who we serve and that there is hope in Jesus Christ for them and the whole world.