In Colossians 3:12-14 the apostle Paul listed some of the virtues Jesus demands of his people. Among them…bearing with each other…forgiving whatever grievance you have against another…forgiving as God forgave you.
Men in the Klondike Gold Rush often found it better to find partners. It provided help on the trail, companionship in the field and a sense of belonging that most mortals need. Sometimes, in the miserable hardships of getting to the gold fields, and in the bitter winters that froze everyone once there, the same men found reasons to dislike, quarrel with and despise each other. That shattered the partnership.
Sometimes, once the rage faded, these same men remembered the fair times and the humor of their former partners. Trying to find them proved difficult, with so many in Dawson and scattered throughout the Yukon. If they did meet, they shook hands and “with sheepish grins,” remembered the small stuff they had blown to large.
One man had unsuccessfully looked for weeks to find his former partner. One day, serving as pallbearer for an unknown typhoid victim, he looked into the coffin. He found his former partner. Time-Life, The Miners, 220-221.
How like a pardon after an execution is the desire for companionship with one who is dead. Kiss your wife. Hug your kids. Greet a neighbor. Reconcile with an estranged friend. Say something nice to one you love. Shrink all impersonal sins to offenses, offenses to faults and faults to indiscernible differences. Speak up; don’t keep mum. Do something; don’t just do nothing! Then, when we look in the coffin, we’ll be comforted to that extent anyway.