I’ve been a Facebook user for several years now. I don’t know how long FB Messenger has been a thing but I do know I only started using it a few months ago. Whatever other quirks and smirks there are about it, there’s one aspect that I cannot currently fathom. How does it decide when to reveal the existence of messages?
On Friday evening I was catching up with some communications. For some reason, there was a list of FB messages I’d never seen before. There was one from someone who’d read some of my devotions in The Quiet Hour and noticed I was a native of Kentucky. There was one from a colleague who’d worked with me at Highland Community College and didn’t have a current phone number for me. There was one from someone who wanted to let me know that her son had a new job. There was one poignant message from someone who’d come to a funeral and wanted me to know my words had touched her heart and brought her peace in a tragic situation.
I replied to each of them, apologizing for not knowing that they had sent me a message a couple of years before I ever started using Messenger. Two or three of them responded right away. It may that one or two of the others are no longer active on Facebook or maybe figured they’d wait about as long as I did. Fair enough I suppose. There was one message that transcended all of those in regard to its emotional impact. It came from a dead man.
There’s no way I’m going to elaborate even briefly about all the history between him and me. He was my hero when I was growing up and I quite literally adored him. At some point, views that we held ran counter to one another and the closeness disappeared. Some years later, we began to enjoy each other’s company again. Then there came a rift that moved him to write to me, “I never want to see or hear from you again.” Just in case I let it slip my mind, he reminded me a couple of years after that. And so I obliged him.
His declaration of separation did not keep him from occasionally sending me another angry email of some kind. When our mother died, he chose not to join the rest of us for the visitation or the funeral. When he died near the end of September in 2015, his obituary acknowledged only one surviving brother. In fact he has two other brothers and two sisters still living. One of each of them attended his burial in western Kentucky; I did not go.
I did think of Richard often and prayed for him. I don’t know that he did the same for me but I would not be even slightly surprised if he did. I was however, greatly surprised to find out that he had sent me a message less than two weeks before he died.
As I said earlier, I have no explanation for why that group of messages suddenly showed up this past weekend. I’ve been in Messenger dozens of times and there was never before any indication that I had a cache of messages from up to nearly three years ago. I checked again last night to re-read the one from Richard. It had disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared.
He had written, “Harold, I forgive you for all that you said and did to me. Please do the same for me.”
I hope he knows that I already did.