“We’re all terminal,” so live each day treating ourselves and others well, knowing we’re all in this together until the end. Hearing that quote the other day, I’m reminded how powerful our words can be. We use words to lift up or tear down, to bring encouragement or shame, to love or to harm.

We’re all going to die, and none of us are guaranteed today much less tomorrow. What if we really lived with the awareness of our death? Would that change how we act and speak?

It’s easy to be someone else in our current society. We can be kind and encouraging in public, but are we wearing this face at home? Do our public and private lives align? Do we take time with our families, to listen to their heart, to offer empathy and love — no matter how we think they should behave?

The thing is, those that are the closest to us are the ones who know us best and who follow our lead, no matter right or wrong. If we’re always criticizing our family members and making them feel small for their feelings or for not being able to do something the way we want it done, then are we truly the loving person we portray ourselves to be? Are we living an authentic life?

I’ve been thinking about this while reading the book, “The Power of Your Words,” by Robert Morris and am reminded how we’re the carriers of a positive or negative message. We have the power to create or destroy. Jesus says in Proverbs 18, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

If we speak love to our family, then we’ll get that back in return — maybe not that day or month but somewhere along the way, we’ll receive love back. If we’ve spent a lifetime tearing others down, then it’ll take time to mend those relationships. But we can. If we want a life filled with blessings and peace, then we must live the golden rule, no matter the situation that we’re in. The hard things in life become the good when we recalibrate our mindset and love out loud with no expectations.

So, give out that compliment to your spouse and children. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.” We set the tone in our homes. Let’s be a people that shakes off the old stories of rejection or shame or control and follow the Lord’s lead. “I set before you life or death, choose life so it will go well for you.”

We’re all terminal — let’s love those closest to us first. We don’t know when they’ll be called home, and regrets are hard to get over. Who wants to live like that? Change your mindset and change your life. Walk it out every single day. Love leads to patience, empathy and peace. With love there is no dividing line. Love big.

Leslie Cappiello, Ph.D., is an educator in Galveston.

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(3) comments

Charles Douglas

Absolutely! Great article!

Bailey Jones

"We’re all terminal" - Having been raised in the funeral business, this reality became apparent to me at a very early age. It's the one thing that we all share - we're all born, and we'll all die. The time in between is all we have - and this, too, is something that we share. Like the commons of old time villages, we should all tend it well.

Jarvis Buckley

Great article. So true. We can all do better.

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