I knew you. But I didn’t. I knew the kids. Tried to make a difference in their lives. I tried to be there for their mom. I don’t think I did a very good job.
I didn’t bother getting to know you. And maybe I should have. I mean, that’s what Jesus said we should do – right? Love my neighbor? What would have happened if I had tried harder to show the love of Jesus in your life? Would it have made a difference? Would it have mattered?
What if I had figured out a way to get members of our church to be involved in your life? What if we had decided to actually be the church instead of just playing church? What if we had spent more time talking with people instead of about them? Would it have made a difference? Would it have mattered? Would it have stopped you from destroying so much?
I know I can’t dwell on “what-ifs.” And I certainly can’t ask you now.
I do know this, though: I could have been a better neighbor. I should have been a better neighbor. Would it have mattered in the end? I don’t know.
I know I can’t change what has happened. But I can change what I do today. I can choose to be love the people around me – even those who are different from me. I can choose to push back the darkness in the lives of people around me. I can choose to be a neighbor the way Jesus defines a neighbor.
I don’t want to miss any opportunities that God has placed before me. I don’t want to have a life full of asking “what if?” And if that means having a life that’s a little bit messy?
So be it.
The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.
Corrie Ten Boom