My old friend and mentor Bill Tully used often to end services with these words, from Henri Frederic Amiel :
Life is short,I had these words rubbed into me yesterday, when I heard from an old friend that someone we had both known a long time ago a had died. I had not been close with this person--in face, we had not been friends at all, but had quite strongly disliked each other.
And we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who
make the journey with us.
So… be swift to love,
and make haste to be kind.
And the blessing of God,
who made us,
who loves us,
and who travels with us
be with you now and forever.
Our lived then went separate ways, and I did not hear of this person until about a couple years ago--30 years after our paths had crossed--when a social media contact request appeared on my screen.
I did not reply to it, one way or another.
Be swift to love,
make haste to be kind.
We never know the day or the hour.
I wonder if, had I answered the request, we would have found common ground at last? Maybe not; we were inimical to each other when young--but the things that loom large in youth are seen in different perspective in middle age. I wish now that I had at least tried.
Every time we say "no" to these opportunities to reconcile disparate pieces of life, we are closing the door to possibility. I wish I had done so in this case. I'm really writing this as an aide-memoir, so that I may be more wise another time.
Because I don't want to say "no" anymore.
And you, whom I did not claim as a friend? Forgive me. And rest in peace.