WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT
Author Erynn Miller said: "It takes a lot of understanding, time and
trust to gain a close friendship with someone. As I approach a time in
my life of complete uncertainty, my friends are my most precious
I had a friend who felt that way. I sat next to Hal's "death-bed" and
thought about the fact that I had known him for over twenty years. Hal
knew he was dying and that these next few days would be his last. I
held his hand.
We spent time reminiscing about his long and fruitful career as a
church pastor. We talked about old friends. We chatted about his
family. And I listened as he offered a piece of sage wisdom to someone
he believed represented a "younger generation."
Hal seemed to carefully consider what he was about to say next. Then
he squeezed my hand, gazed intently into my eyes and whispered, just
loud enough for me to hear, "Nothing is more important than
I knew that this utterance somehow mattered a great deal to him. He
seemed to consider a lifetime of experiences - personal, professional,
spiritual and family - and this one simple observation surfaced above
the rest: "Nothing is more important than relationships."
"Don't get too caught up in your career," he said. "And don't use
people just to get what you want, then throw them away. No project, no
program, no task - NOTHING - is more important than your friends and
family." I never knew Hal that well, but I wondered if he were talking
as much to himself as to me.
Remember," he repeated, "that in the end, only your relationships will
matter. Tend them well."
Writer Og Mandino put it this way: "Beginning today," he said, "treat
everyone you meet as if he or she were going to be dead by midnight.
Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can
muster, and do so with no thought of any reward. Your life will never
be the same again."
At the end of a long life, my friend Hal would have agreed.