November 20th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

Growing up, mom and dad would take me to visit Aunt June.  The drive was about 45 minutes to her small home in WV and there were so many things I could count on:  Her yappy dog, Ginger…playing Chinese checkers or bunko…her sweet tea… Before we got out of the car to go inside, mom would somewhat jokingly say “When we get inside, start saying goodbye because it takes a couple hours for Aunt June to let you go once you say you need to leave.”  Goodbye’s were hard for Aunt June.  She loved the company.  We said goodbye always with the intention of returning again in a couple months to do it all over again.

Last week, I got to visit a great friend and mentor in my life, Stan Buck.  Stan had been battling a brain tumor for 18 months.  I was going to say goodbye, but this time I knew that it would be the last time I would say goodbye to him on earth.  It was a celebration at church.  The church he planted was celebrating 25 years AND they were celebrating his life.  Selfishly, I didn’t want to leave.  I really enjoyed those last few minutes I got to spend with him.

I watched Stan from afar fight this battle for 18 months.  I always prayed for a miracle.  My faith tells me that the miracle was that he would live eternally after his time on earth and I would see him again…

I could write more of all the times I shared with Stan when my family lived in Fort Wayne and attended the church that he pastored.  At some point, I probably will.  But, there is something to learn from this.  What was unique about this last chat I had with Stan was that I KNEW it would be the last time we would chat.  He passed on a week after my visit.  How many relationships do I have that when I leave (like seeing Aunt June) that I DON’T KNOW if it will be the last time I will see that person?  It really was a blessing that I could say goodbye.  I shouldn’t take other relationships for granted.

I usually finish with a question, but I just wanted to share what has been on my heart for a few days.  I will just finish with some words told to me years ago by another friend:

“When you see someone, say hello to them like it was the first time you had ever met them… and say goodbye like it was the last time you might ever see them.”

I need to do better here.

Until we meet again, Stan.