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I noticed a grave marker with the name and dates of a former classmate. And that got me thinking about missing persons, people from my past who are no longer a part of my life.

My father, my sister, my grandson, my in-laws are absent because of death. I have good and precious memories and photos of them which make me smile. At times, however, I miss them. I want to talk with them, hug them, share life with them. I believe that they are in a better place for eternity, and that I will join them one day. But I miss them.

A dear friend recently passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Her seat in church is always empty. I feel sad. I miss her.

There are people from my past who have touched my life in positive ways with whom I intended to stay connected: relatives, friends, acquaintances. Time, distance, and life in general interfered and severed that connection, often my own fault. Sometimes I receive a bit of news about them. Often I do not.

Then there are the persons missing from my life because of disagreement or hurt that caused a rift between us. We may never have attempted to mend that rift. Or one of us may have tried, but the other didn’t reciprocate. The bad feelings and separation remain. The best thing is to forgive and try to reconcile. I may have to humble myself and be the first to step out, even if I don’t consider it my fault.

Do you know what I mean? Do you have any of these missing people in your life? Friends? Relatives?

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I want my conscience clear of offense against another person. And I want to be “kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving,” as Ephesians 4:32 admonishes believers. And I want to be friends again.