|Place of Peace or Regret?|
Yesterday I listened to a priest give a talk on his experience in serving those who are near the end of theirlife. He said it has been consistently profound on how honest and transparent people are when they are on their deathbed. He said for twenty years of doing bed-side ministry, when people know their time is almost up, they look back in their life with such clear objectivity with no more excuses.
And he shared with us that there are two types of people during these moments---the ones who rest peacefully looking back with a smile and ones who have major regrets and mourn wishing they did things differently.
He said there are consistently three main regrets men and women share with him right before they die. He’s astonished at how it’s the same three every time:
#3 Wishing they spent more time with the children
He talked about fathers especially, who in their love for their children, work their hardest to provide for the best for their son’s and daughters. Or father’s who didn’t know a thing about rearing children because their father didn’t do a good job, and resorted to distracting themselves with their work or maybe worser vices from addictions to affairs.
In the case of the first type of father, he recognized that many father’s wanted to provide the best, when they realize later that they should given their best ---which is in the end, what children most need, is time spent with them.
#2 Wishing they loved their spouse they way they should have
He found that both men and women will be clear and realize how good their spouse was to them, and wishes they told them more or loved them the way that they had wanted. Those who regretted this wish they had spent more time with them or travelled to that one place they both had wished they went to. They also realize how much they took that person for granted, and is sorry for all the thankless times they could have shown gratitude but didn’t.
#1 Wishing they had a better relationship with God
The priest found this one to be most surprising. Maybe it’s because of their fear of what’s to come next, but those who mention this one regret all the excuses they had made for not having or making time for God. All the justifications that they had to work hard to pay the bills or buy the house or rushing to get the children to soccer practice, there wasn’t enough time in the day to stop and say hi to God.
And when he reversed it, he showed us that is it in this order that we should spend our priorities of love:
And mentioned how we can’t love our spouse sufficiently if we can’t first feel and receive our love from God, and we can’t provide our children with the most love that they need if we first can’t receive and give love to our spouse first.
This past weekend I wrote a love letter on a topic that most people find so taboo, most do not want to read, and even I have skirted avoiding writing about in fear of losing readers. But I wanted to share it because I should no longer be afraid of what people might think when reading it.
It’s a love that’s hardest to receive because it takes the most trust and vulnerability. And it’s the love that needs to be experienced by one individually before it can ever be understood. Think about all the things in our lives we try to fill our void with, and may we anticipate what life could be like if we fill that void with something, or someone, else.
There are 24 hours in a day. What if we took 15 minutes of it for just you and Him. The hardest and maybe the most rewarding 15 minutes we can have. May we all make this moment count.
Because we never know when these moments will be our last.