When you look back on life, what do you have regrets about? Most people think they will regret what choices they made in life: the times in life they failed big time. But late in life, do you know what people say they regret the most? People have regrets about what they didn’t do; they talk of not taking bigger risks, about not taking the time to pursue their calling with more zeal, about not having invested themselves in the things of life that last. Most people aren’t living without regrets.
Last September, my grandfather, William, passed away. He was diagnosed with cancer, and within a few short weeks, he had reached the end. It was quick—too quick. Although really, I don’t know that any amount of time would have been enough; it never is. In his final hours on this earth, my grandfather was in a great deal of pain from the cancer that was wreaking havoc in his body. He was struggling to stay present, struggling to get words out, and still, he had the clarity to say these simple words,
I want you to know that I have no fear of dying, because when I think about my future, I know where I will be. I’ll be in Heaven with my Savior, and when I look back at my life, I have no regrets about how I lived it, because I made my life about loving others and helping people get to know their Savior.
Those words have echoed in my mind for months now. I can’t seem to get past them. We each get one life—just one—and the moments of mine seem to be rushing by. I still haven’t figured out how to slow time down, despite my best efforts. So instead, I’m allowing the impact of these words from my grandfather to change me, to change the way I live my life today. I am living with intentionality, focusing on the things in life I don’t want to have regrets about. His words have somehow made time slow down and allowed me to be more intentional about how I spend my moments; they have caused me to let go of bitterness a lot faster, to look for where I can see the goodness of the Lord here on earth (Psalm 27:13-14) and to have gratitude for where I see it. The impact of his words makes me pause a little longer when kissing my little ones goodnight, and time and time again it has caused me to make the harder choices, the riskier choices, but the choices I know will lead to that fulfilling life without regret.
We each get one short life so let me ask you,
What would you be doing today if you allowed yourself to risk a little more, if you took some time to reflect on who you were and what God’s called you to do, if you chose to invest in the things of life that had a lasting impact…even if it cost you, even if it was hard? I hope today you find yourself doing more of those, living with intentionality, because time is short.