We are advised everywhere to “live a life of no regrets.” This is easier said than done. A quick tour of the internet reveals stories of people who wish they had not cheated on a spouse, or who regret not seizing an opportunity in a moment that would not come by again. Most people’s thoughts tend toward relationships that could have been strengthened or should not have been broken. Thoughts turn to those who could have, or should have, been paid more attention. Sometimes the most heartbreaking regrets are little things that could have been done in a minute, except for fear or doubt.
Common themes among those caring for the dying are not theological questions but their need to express simple feelings of shock and anger. Why is this happening to me? What comes next? Nobody regrets that they did not spend enough time at the office. Instead, thoughts turn to brothers, sisters, parents, children and other loved ones. Caregivers can only listen.
Most of us fill our days thinking about how to make more money, or to keep what we have. After all, we have to go to work, or keep track of our investments. These concerns crowd out our relationships, those that are, or those that could be.
A “life of no regrets” begins with a clear purpose. To reach for it, we must pass through doubts and fears. The next weeks, with the coming end of 2019, we have a fresh opportunity to reflect on what the coming year could be. Is there something you left undone in 2019? Take advantage of these days to start a plan for 2020. We will never know our full potential without reaching for it. We will never surpass limits until we know where they are. We will never touch anyone until we take a risk to reach out our hands.