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We lost a dear friend three months ago. Nobody saw it coming, we were all taken unawares reeling in shock at the suddenness of his departure from this earth. In the days that followed a very beautiful thing occurred as person after person left messages and thoughts about the father, the friend, the colleague, the husband, the schoolmate and the way he had impacted their lives.

I’ve been reflecting this week on those posts and the conclusion I’ve come to is that as beautiful as was to see them it was also sad. Sad that he will never read them or that he had no idea how people thought or felt about him. It’s not that we didn’t care enough to tell him but we all assumed that he knew.

And therein lies the challenge.

In the early days we all went that extra mile to tell each other how precious we were to each other but as time has gone on how are we doing now? It’s so easy to get back into our routines and just assume life will go on this way forever.

They say in a major accident first aiders should look for the injured who aren’t making much noise as their injuries could be more severe. In this case it’s usually the ones who make the most noise, laugh a little louder, joke a bit more and always seem to be “up” and just getting on with it that would benefit from that acknowledgment of existence and affirmation. It’s easy to overlook these people.

Yes I know we get our greatest source of identity from Christ but that doesn’t excuse us from building each other up!

Romans 12 tells us to ” let love be genuine, to love one another with brotherly affection and to outdo one another in showing honour”

So I just want to encourage you from my little part of this world to take the time NOW whilst you still can to say that thank you, express love, and send the card, speak words of encouragement that will build and strengthen and can be drawn on, on those days where we don’t feel worth much (and we all have them). Let a generous spirit emanate from you that isn’t afraid to love and to encourage.

I’ll always be grateful for having the opportunity to tell my friend how much we loved him and hearing him echo it back somehow makes the sorrow a little easier to bear.

Love, live, encourage extravagantly! It’s contageous!