Words when there’s not much time

I’m heading to work in a few minutes. I don’t have much time. I’ll go to the hospital and have short conversations with people heading into the operating room or the scanner. I don’t have much time. I’ll probably talk with a family member or two who said, “I didn’t know he would go so quickly”, and I’m constantly reminded that there’s not much time.

FamSo here’s what I want you to do today. Find someone. Identify a time when they did something well. Tell them.

Most of us are wondering most of the time whether we are doing anything right. As parents, as friends, as coworkers, as children, as partners, as employees. We look at our specific behaviors and we don’t see the patterns. We look at the three bad things and we miss the fourteen good. We worry what the person we’ve always held up as a hero is going to think when they watch us work.

Some of you don’t. But most of us do.

And if the last thing you do is say, “That thing? That was great”, we will have obeyed Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves.


A specific accurate affirming statement is an act of love. Identifying the pattern of caring in the face of one event is an act of love. Stopping the spew of self-condemnation with affirmation is an act of love.

(A hug might be an act of love, too,)

You aren’t going to have to look far. You can start with the next person you know. You can do this.

And if the last words someone hears you speak are words of affirmation. maybe that was just enough time.