We buried my grandmother on Monday. She passed away last Wednesday, July 6. She was a remarkable woman who never had anything negative to say about anyone. Her positive outlook and quick wit was contagious and truly impacted everyone who had any contact with her.
As is common for me lately (and for many) talk of death spurs thoughts of life. We live once. It’s a gift given us and there’s no exchanging it or returning it. Once used it’s in the realm of history, written into the pages of eternity. The focus of life is not only the tape at the finish line, it’s how we run the race. And I want to run with no regrets.
This has been on my mind a lot lately, no regrets. I work with people every day who are at the end of life and some voice very openly the regrets they’ll carry to the grave. I can see the sorrow in the lines of their face, the cloud in the eyes. They wish their life would have turned out differently. They wish they would have loved more and hated less, listened to that advice they ignored, been more honest, paid more attention to their children. Last year I worked with a woman who lived alone in a trailer with her elderly dog. She had no family, no friends, and, as far as she was concerned, no reason for living. After telling me all the mistakes she’d made in life she said, “I think about just ending it. All I have in the world is this trailer and my stupid dog.” I left her with tears in my eyes and a heavy lump in my throat.
Now, I realize that winding up at the end of life with no regrets means changing how I live now. And any change is hard work.
So with that in mind, here are some thoughts, in no particular order:
* I want to be in good standing with everyone I come in contact with; I want to live in peace with everyone.
* I want to be the daddy my kids need.
* I want to be the husband my wife deserves.
* I want to work hard and do my best at whatever my hands find to do.
* I want to never stop learning.
* I want to make a difference in the lives of the people I know.
* I want to never be ashamed of my faith and take every opportunity to talk about, to defend it, and to encourage someone else with it.
* I want to be quick to apologize and quicker to forgive.
* I want to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the best.
* I want to take risks and spend some time on limbs.
* I want to recognize opportunities and seize them.
* I want to love others as I have been loved.
* I want to pursue humility and live by the rule of honesty.
Well, there’s my list. Am I there yet? That’s like starting a cross-country trip in Philadelphia and after an hour asking “Are we there yet?” Um, not quite. But I have to think the desire alone is a start.
So what about you? Who’s with me? Who wants to live with no regrets?