We cannot live a regret-free life, but we can seek wisdom in prayer to make good decisions.
Posted in , Jan 7, 2015
Nobody plans on living or ending life with regret. When we are young we don't sit down and make a list of all the regrets we will have toward the end of our lives.
No matter how many times our parents counsel us what to do or not do, we do it our way.
The fact is that we create our lives as we live them. My friend Jackie likes to says, "I only want to regret the thing I did, not the things that I didn't do." But all of us have some regret because it comes with living.
One of life's challenges is to make the most of our life and minimize our regrets. We will not be able to live a regret-free life, but we can seek wisdom in prayer to make good decisions in how best to live.
We don't want to come to the end of this year regretting that we didn't spend enough time with our spouse, children or grandchild because we didn't make it a priority.
We didn't attend family gatherings because our business was more important. We said no to great opportunities due to the fear of failing. We didn't take more risks because playing it safe was more comfortable.
M. Craig Barnes in his book, Body & Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism, tells the story of a 90-year old man sitting in a small room in the assisted living wing of the Ten Oaks Retirement Center.
He writes, "It's a nicely appointed facility with hunter green carpet, dark-stained doors, and a lobby that looks the Marriott. Prints of seashores adorn the walls. It’s a lovely place, but it doesn't look like home.
"And behind the resident’s door, life is not so elegant. The old man's room has a bed, a sink, a chair with frayed arms from home, a dresser bearing family photographs, and an oxygen tank. A television is perched on the wall. This is now his world.
"Every day he remembers the days he wasted. There was always another report to write, another deal to make, another rung of the ladder to climb at work.
"He thinks about the piano recitals he missed, the soccer games he only heard about where his daughter scored the winning goal, and the wife he loved who died too soon.
"He used to tell himself that he was working hard in order to be a good provider, but he doesn't buy that anymore. These days he lives mostly with regret about missed opportunities.
"But now that he is at last void of distractions, he has learned to pray again. He prays mostly for the children he dearly loves who learned from him how to work hard."
Let us not wait until the end of the year or the end of life to look inward and pray for discernment and wisdom on how best to live our lives. We must ask ourselves hard and tough questions. Am I making the most of moments with loved ones? Is my life making a difference? Or is it all about me?
The author of the letter of James in the New Testament, writes, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; God gives generously and graciously to all."
Prayer: Lord, teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise in the way we live and love.