Weekend Thought Malc’ Halliday: Don't wait until it's too late to speak from the heart
It is inevitable, I suppose, that the older one gets the more funerals are attended. In my line of work I am often conducting the service but occasionally I get the opportunity to sit with the rest of the mourners and listen to the eulogies.
It is always good when you feel people have captured the essence of a person's life and a bonus when they remind you of things you had forgotten or, indeed, never known in the first place. Everybody has their favourite stories about friends and family and it is not possible to include everything.
I remember some years ago a man saying to me, on leaving the funeral of an elderly lady that I had led: "You didn't mention the apple crumble." To this day I have no idea what he was talking about.
Whenever I do find myself listening to people at funerals speaking good things of the deceased I often think of Joan Armatrading. Several years ago she wrote a song called Shapes and Sizes. In an interview she explained how the song came about.
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She had, she said, been listening to the radio the day after well-known broadcaster Brian Redhead had died. She was struck by the generosity and warmth of the tributes.
Then she found herself wondering whether anyone had told him these things while he was alive. Why, she asked herself, do we leave it until the person is no longer with us to say the things we would have wanted them to hear?
Is there, I wonder, just one person this weekend that I need to tell how much I value, appreciate and love them? Jesus said the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
If our hearts are full of love for someone, what is stopping me and you from letting them know before it is too late?
For as Joan's song says: "Don't wait until it's over. Obituary columns are filled with love. If everybody said it to the person that they feel it for, then their heart would be full and free."
Malc' Halliday is the centre manager of the Christian Resources Project Plymouth firstname.lastname@example.org