Thomas Carlyle who died in 1881 was a great English poet. He loved his wife and she dearly loved him and helped him in his career. But she fell ill with cancer and became bedridden. Thomas was so busy writing that he rarely made time to stay at her bedside, but she did not complain. After she died, it rained heavily on the day of her burial. After the ceremony at the graveside Thomas went home, went up into his wife’s bedroom and sat beside her bed. He found her diary and read this entry. “Yesterday Thomas spent an hour with me and it was like being in Heaven. I love him so.” His heart quaked. On the next page he read, “I have listened all day to hear his steps in the hall, but now it is late and I guess he won’t come today.” Thomas threw the diary on the floor and ran back to the cemetery through the pouring rain. Friends found him face down in the mud on the new
grave weeping, saying over and over again, “If I had only known.” If he had only understood how much his wife needed his presence, he would have spent much more time with her. But now it was too late. Life can be like that for all of us. We get distracted from what is truly important and miss moments that never can be recaptured. Some years ago the singing group ALABAMA sang a song entitled “In Pictures” in which a father working far from his family sings, “I missed her first steps, her first words; I love you daddy was something I seldom heard”. How tragic when things like that occur. We need to ask God to help us discern what is truly important in life and make sure we give those people and situations the attention they deserve. Otherwise, we can end up with a lot of empty yesterdays.