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?
Posted on July 14, 2011, in Christian Living, Life in General and tagged living, No regrets. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.
I am with you Mike. As I near the end of the race I want to finish strong. I agree with your list 101% God Bless you for your inspirational comments and insight into life.
Finish stronger than I started. Agreed, Elmer. Thanks.
Mike, I am in total agreement with you. When my time is up, I want to go out with a bang…having enjoyed life, my family, and most of all, my God…and sharing Him with those who cross my path. Thank you for being such an inspiration! And my prayers are with you and your family in your loss.
Thank you, Deb!
Live one day at a time. Live to the best of your ability today. God has not granted you tomorrow until tomorrow arrives. So on the day when tomorrow doesn’t come, all of those days between now and your last day will add up to a life lived with NO REGRETS. One of the greatest gifts God has given to me is contentment with TODAY. Tomorrow is a gift that only HE can give, so don’t live like you have time to say you’re sorry. You may NOT have that option.
Awesome. Thanks, Justin.
Mike, this is an awesome post. It ministered to me in a very strong way. My mother passed away on January 16th and I’ve had a very difficult time since then. One of the things that have troubled me is that I’ve had regrets. Regrets that I’d not always been as kind to her as I should have been, regrets that I should have done more and better for her. Silly things, really, but things like that worry a person when they lose a loved one.
I also have a situation that is personal that this post speaks to. Thanks so very much. I believe you’d make a very good and effective minister. I’m printing this post to keep to glean encouragement again.
Susan, occasionally I get the opportunity to talk about spiritual things with patients I see and, after they apologize for taking up so much of my time, I always tell them I’d rather talk about that stuff than physical therapy any day. The condition of their soul is so much more important than the condition of their body. Thanks for YOUR encouragement.
Wow, Mike. This is so great. Thanks for sharing this and inspiring me. I am on board with you. What a great legacy your grandmother left you all with.
I agree with your list, Mike. I would only add one item; Never, never, never give up.
I have found that God has plans for each of us that we couldn’t guess until they happen. Believe me, they are surprising and wonderful. He answers prayers in the most unlikely manner. We can’t out-guess God.
Good point, Sybil. Totally agree.
My father is 97 years old and, although his body is failing, his mind and his voice are still strong. He was a bivocational music minister during his adult years. Two years ago, we had to put him in a nursing home. At first, he was distraught until he realized that even at age 95 he could still minister for God. Now, he sings regularly to the men and women in his wing. He was placed on the Alzheimer’s wing because there were no male rooms on the other wings. He has friends who listen to him sing every day. He views his time there as a mission from God! Talk about inspiration. I only hope I can finish as well as he is finishing. I agree with every sentiment you expressed. I would add that I want to always be in God’s will and always listen to His voice. I have a friend who has for years shunned his Christian brothers and sisters in Christ and isolated himself and his wife from his church family because of bitterness and anger. Lately, a ton of crises have piled up on him. He is in his mid sixties and yesterday he shared with me that he is so sorry his family is having to pay for his hiding from God. God is getting his attention in ways that are horribly painful. He realizes it and has now decided to go back into the ministry and preach.
My hope and prayer as I finish life is that I never reach that point to where God has to lay me flat on my back to get my attention. It’s okay if it happens while I’m in His will. I can live with that. But, the regrets at missing opportunities to do God’s will are regrets I could not handle. My best friend once told me, and I hold this advice dear to my heart, leave this world a better place than you found it!
Thank you for sharing that, Bruce. I’m with you 100%. I have a friend who is currently shunning God. It breaks my heart to watch it and to feel so helpless. I can only pray God will get his attention and that he will come back into the fold.
I totally agree. Although I was a Christian as a youth, I messed up the first half of my life terribly. But thank God for His faithfulness and forgiveness, and now I’m working on making the last half of my life count for something.
Sharon, I love your attitude. It’s never too late!
I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Mike. What attracted me to your blog today was your heading of “no regrets”. That has been exactly what has driven me during this time of becoming a published author. I finished the novel at long-last, and then saw it published. It was the fear of regret that drove me after 20 years of only dreaming of these days. If I never sell another book and all of this comes to an end, I’m completely okay with that. I will face old age with a few regrets, but never pursuing my writing will not be one of them.
Once again, my condolences.
Good for you, Jimmy. So glad you decided to follow your dream and go for it!
Good post, Mike. I’m sorry about your loss, but you were very blessed to have such a wonderful woman in your life for so long. For me, having no regrets has included prioritizing my family above my work. I am so glad that I put aside a career to be home with my children and invest myself in all aspects of their lives. It is amazing how fast those years flew by.
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