Cathy Baugh ponders a question that often makes the rounds on social media: "If you could invite anyone, living or dead, to dinner, who would it be?"
I saw this question posed on Facebook today. “If you could invite someone living or dead to dinner, who would it be?” A few minutes after being posted, there were 798 responses which; ok, yes, I did read several of them. The majority of the responses comprised of people who were loved who had died, such as parents and grandparents, relatives lost to suicide, or died unexpectedly, anyone special in their lives who were now deceased. It seems they wished they had conveyed to them the positive influence given to them in their lives. Additional responses included a teacher, a close friend, even a coworker. Again, most of the dinner invites comprised of people who had died not someone still living.
When I read these responses, I recognized so many people had experienced regret by not acknowledging what they meant to them while they were alive. Mostly, they wished the person they would want to invite to dinner knew they were important and made a huge difference in their lives. It makes me wonder why we continue to realize we should have done or said more to someone who means a lot to us but we didn’t come to this realization until after that special person in our lives had left us.
Perhaps, the correct question to pose should be, if you could invite someone to dinner still living, who would that person be?" And maybe add an addendum to the question: “Should we let this person know what they mean to us now?”
When we are authentic with those we love, we immediately will come to the realization that loved ones deserve to know how they impact our lives. “I invited you to dinner tonight because I wanted you to know your friendship and your relationship with me, makes me a happier and better person.” I think when we are open and honest, we gain strength.
I wrote an article after posing this question to several people: “If you could talk to anyone for thirty minutes who has died, who would that person be?” Again, most responses included a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a friend who meant so much to them while they were living. Similar responses included wanting to let this person know how they impacted them. All but one person I interviewed chose someone who was special to them who had died. (As a side note, I was surprised that I only had one response that said they would want to talk with Jesus. Curious, right?)
If I’m being honest, I had the same reaction as those I interviewed. I said I would love to see my brother Mike or my mother. I wished they both knew they made a huge impact in my life. If only I could have communicated better what they meant to me. We get so caught up in our lives that we forget the most important message came from Jesus:
“Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind ... love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 39)
Our purpose has been made clear. Jesus Christ wants us to show love to everyone we encounter. Whether it’s a kind word to a stranger, whether it’s a spouse or parent or someone else close to us, whether it’s a teller at a bank: all are worthy of our love. Somehow, we need to find a way to communicate this love. I believe Jesus wants this of all of us. Preferably, I think, while they are alive and with us. In Victor Hugo’s infamous words, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. (Ephesians 4-15)
Copyright 2021 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (Cathy) completed her education in Special Education and English and now works as an Agent in the Insurance Industry. A mother and Grandmother, Cathy grew up in a large Catholic family and has spent the last 30 years as a caregiver for her husband, Jack. She is a cancer survivor, which inspired her to begin writing.