An article entitled ‘Top five regrets of the dying‘ is a popular link at present. An Australian nurse wrote a blog on the theme which has turned into a book. The top five are:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
For a minister, number 2 is a big risk, especially if there is any truth in the existence of the Protestant work ethic. In my case, and I’m sure with others, number 4 is another big risk. Being busy, and moving every few years to another appointment in a different part of the country, puts pressure on this. Facebook helps, but only so far. Number 3 can be a risk when your livelihood depends on the whims and opinions (and sometimes the prejudices) of congregations.
What, in your experience, are the major regrets people have in life? Has forgiveness helped?
For a Christian, no. 1 should be more about Christ than themselves. Easier said than done!
And things I’ve learnt about forgiveness:
1. It is ineffable.
2. It does not work to a timetable.
3. It is felt, not achieved.
4. It deeply offends the rational mind.
I’ve been forgiven by someone I love deeply – and it made all the difference to me.
So I guess reaching out to forgive others shouldn’t be so difficult – but it is. There you have it.