“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” ~Philippians 3:13-14 NLT.
Like most people, I have regrets.
Mine center around the death of a loved one. Death means things can’t be undone. When someone dies, we never think I wish they worked more or learned a new skill. The regrets usually have to do with time and the lack they didn’t realize they had when they had it.
Time doesn’t stop, just because we want more of it.
My first regret was when my then-best friend passed away.
I was a young married mom, trying to homeschool, be a housewife and Christian parent to two elementary aged girls. I also had two young infants at the time. My best friend was somewhat in the same boat and we did a lot of life together. We lived on opposite sides of town, but would get together every week for an entire day of homeschooling activities, talking about our walk with God, and just being an emotional support for each other.
A few years into our friendship, she found a lump on her shoulder and had it biopsied. She received the worst news anyone could get. She had an extremely aggressive form of cancer that started out as lymphoma, quickly developed into melanoma, and then spread to her brain. The last voice conversation I remember having with her was when she told me that it had spread to her brain, and I just broke down in tears. Somehow her pain became mine and she had a death sentence. This was before I understood and believed in the power of healing and how the Holy Spirit works.
I regret my ignorance.
We texted back and forth, every now and then but those messages got fewer and farther between until they just stopped. I had to hunt down her location. As she lay frail as a shell of her former self, I touched her hand. My hope was for her to know I was there and loved her deeply, but what she got was writhing pain. The type of cancer she had caused her so much pain even from a soft touch to the hand.
I never really got to say goodbye but that wasn’t my regret. My regret was not being able to stand in faith for her healing. It was not knowing how to boldly rebuke the attack of the enemy. I wasn’t even able to pray a prayer of comfort because I ached at knowing the loss I would feel when she was gone. She was my only true female friend. What would I do without her?
I regret my busyness.
In 2011, my daddy passed away from the effects of 4 strokes he had on his birthday two years before.
January 14, 2009, his 74th birthday, my daddy woke up and had four strokes.
He was immediately hospitalized and all of his daughters came to see him. It was decided that my parents would move back east with my oldest sister for her assistance. Two years later, just before his 76th birthday, the doctors told us that he would not last more than a few weeks.
Each of his daughters spent a week with him, individually, to say their goodbyes. I was able to go around our birthdays to celebrate with him but he was so out of it from the medication. Most of my time, during that week, was spent hanging out with other family members. When I knew daddy was awake and trying to get my attention, I would be right by his side.
My regret, though, is that, during the two years before his death, I was often too busy to call. Or when he would call me, just to check on me, I would have a laundry list of things I needed to do.
Stuff isn’t as important as we think.
This past year’s loss was my biggest regret. For most of my life, my second oldest sister and I have butted heads more than we have gotten along. She had a streak of jealousy towards me that would often turn into spending an exhaustible amount of energy trying to prove me wrong. If she could prevent me from being right on any topic or stopping me from being the communicator in the group, she would do it.
I love her so much and that did not change with her death. My heart hurts for all she had to endure. I cannot image the misery she was walking in, daily. You would have never really known it about her, up until nearly the end. Cancer really sucks.
We went on a sister trip, all four of us sisters. It was a fantastic trip, packed with memories, even some of her trying to prove me wrong. She still did a pretty good job of pouring out love while putting me in my place. Our next time of seeing one another was a couple of months later when my granddaughter was born. My granddaughter got to meet her auntie and my sister held her, even though it was painful.
I regret not changing plans.
During that visit, we celebrated my son’s birthday and she was supposed to come to his party. She called me early that morning to let me know she was in a lot of pain and wouldn’t be able to make it. My sister was crying on the phone as she described how she hated what was happening to her and wished things were different. Thinking about it now brings ache in my heart for her pain.
At the time, I told her not to worry…that I would see her again soon. I thought to myself that maybe I should go to her but second guessed myself. Choosing not to go there was a major mistake. Although her husband and her were very private people, making me think she wouldn’t want us there when she was feeling that way, I should have just gone. Instead, I assumed that her fighting and feisty spirit would keep her going and I would see her again the next time I was in town.
That wasn’t the case. Her texts messages got shorter and shorter over the next couple of weeks until I received one that said to message her daughter. Receiving the news that she was in the hospital and wouldn’t make it through the week was a gut punch to the stomach. It created in me a massive fire to pray like never before, fully believing I could rebuke her death and that the Holy Spirit would stop this attack of Satan.
A few days later, the text simply read, “she’s gone.”
My world felt shattered and all I could think about was why didn’t I drive to see her when she couldn’t come to the birthday party?
We all have regrets, some more than others, but, if we are deliberate with the time we have, there will be less of them. I share my stories because I, too, have regrets. However, with being guided by the Holy Spirit and living life intentionally, we can have fewer regrets.