What if I Had Died?
I used to be afraid of death. After a classmate drowned in the 8th grade, I became so fearful that I woke up every morning and wondered if I would die that day.
I even woke up in the middle of the night once and knocked on my parents’ door because I thought I was going to die. They didn’t wake up, so apparently I didn’t knock hard enough. Turns out I wasn’t dying.
I’m happy to announce that fear is gone. I don’t remember exactly when it went away, but I know it has something to do with Jesus, so I just leave it at that.
In the past, if I was going on a trip somewhere, I would write a letter to those closest to me, explaining if they were reading this letter, then I didn’t make it back home. I wrote a letter to my mom, best friend, and little cousin, Caleb. When I would return home safely, I’d throw the letters away. Weird, I know. (Hey.. I’ve got issues. What can I say?)
When I left for my recent mission trip, I didn’t write those letters. The thought actually didn’t cross my mind. I didn’t fear death either. I was just excited to go where God was leading me. That’s where my focus was.
On the plane home I thought about those letters. Why didn’t I write them? Why didn’t I leave powerful words to be said in case I didn’t return? Because I didn’t need too.
Everything that needed to be said had already been said.
My parents knew how much they mean to me. I tell them all the time. I didn’t try to throw in a bunch of words prior to leaving to make sure they knew.
Caleb saw me off at the airport and he knew then, as he always has, how important he is to me. We didn’t have tearful goodbyes and “In case I don’t come back, I hope you know how much you meant to me,” words. Instead, we talked about stuff boys like to talk about. Then I hugged him and headed for the plane.
I told a few of my friends I’d see them in a week or so.
I didn’t leave with any regrets. No unforgiveness. I just left. Happy. Ready. Set. Go.
I didn’t have to write those goodbye letters because I’ve been trying to live intentional.
I tell people how I feel about them when I see them. I don’t wait for a powerful moment. That’s the freedom of living real life.
I used to wait. I told people how I felt about them on special occasions. Or I waited until I was flying to another country to write them a letter telling them everything I should have all along. I’m so glad that’s over.
The fear of death no longer entangles me. Better yet, the fear of real relationships doesn’t either. Thank you Jesus!
Tell those close to you today how you feel about them. Don’t wait for a special occasion. Just do it. Swallow your fear and go for it. You won’t regret it. Be intentional.
If you left today, would those closet to you know how you felt about them? Leave a comment below…
About Sundi Jo
I'm a speaker and author. My new book, Dear Dad, is a memoir of gritty redemption, offering hope to the broken. I love flip flops, Dolly Parton, and often dream of being a "Chopped" chef. Find me on Twitter (@sundijo).