I will occasionally deviate from the journey of my life and the gifts of God’s love to share topics which may be an encouragement and/or inspiration to you; my readers. Don McMinn shared a subject, which I also have strong opinions about; the last and enduring impression. As Don mentions and we all know, making a good first impression is important, but isn’t it often the last impression which remains with you?
I think of my own personal experiences and sometimes there is great joy, while at other times the last image or impression was one which leaves me with great sadness. Have you taken a trip where the last memory of the trip was a departure dinner or gala? As Don mentioned in his blog, it isn’t always about the weather or the “oops” moments on the trip, but the last event before people shared their hugs and good-byes.
What about the service person that enters your home? Do you offer a “thank you” as they depart? How about offering them a bottle of water to continue on their journey? I’ve always desired to be the customer they recall that was kind to them.
My daughter and I went on a trip last year; our first together and one which has lingered in my heart and mind for these past nine months. Our last evening together was in Canada and I both cry and smile when I think of some of her departing words to me, “Mom, the smile has never left your face.” She is right. If I had died that night, I trust my smile and the love I have for her is what she would have remembered.
When I last saw my mother, the sadness still fills me with tears. As I held her tiny, frail face in my hands, I told her I loved her and I would see her again. I told my mother often in her life that I loved her; always hoping to hear her words of love for me. It never happened.
I don’t know if my mother did love me, for she refused to articulate those words. Yet, as I bid her farewell with a promise to see her the following month, that moment would be our last. Days before her 89th birthday, God called her home. My last image was that of my mother with stage 4 colon cancer, telling her I loved her and yearning to hear the same.
There are many sentiments I tried to instill in my children, but one which I spoke over and over is that we can “never travel this way again” and “what if”, that moment with someone was your last? The impression you leave may be a gift or an offense. Don McMinn states, “think carefully about how you end all relational encounters…A well-orchestrated ending can make a significant difference.”
Do you want your last encounter with someone to be one they cherish or a memory which causes them to be sorrowful?
Luke 6:31 NIV, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”