After seventeen years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, “I love you, but I know this other woman loves you, too, and would love to spend some time with you.”
The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER. She was widowed for twenty years, but the demands of my work and my two boys had made it difficult for me to visit as frequently as I probably should have.
That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What's wrong, aren't you well?” she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.
“I want to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”
That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up, I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited at the door. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last birthday on November 19th.
She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,” she said, as she got into my new white van. “They can't wait to hear about our date”.
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu…her eyes could only read large print.
Half way through looking through the entrees, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips and she said, “It was I who used to have to read the menu for you when you were small,” she said.
“Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded.
During the dinner, we had a very pleasant conversation—nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events in each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.
“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.
A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.
Some time later, I received an envelope in the mail with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place where my mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that evening we spent at dinner meant to me. I love you, son.”
At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: “I LOVE YOU”, and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things should not be put off until it’s too late.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34 NIV
Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV