The Sting of Death Is Regret.
This is probably the toughest one for people who are missing loved ones. You look at an old yearbook when cleaning out a bookshelf and think “Why did I not get this out while Dad was living and get him to tell me about these people he knew in college?”…”Why did I not tease Mother about her senior “ambition”: “to have a lot of money”? Why did I not look through this box of photos with her and let her tell me who these people are? Why did I EVER think it was a chore to change a bed or wash tired feet, when it was really a blessing? Why didn’t I look around and say thank-you more often for intricate wooden toys built in that workshop, for shade trees planted or for the sewing of quilts that warm me now or for handmade dolls and dresses now being passed down to the fourth generation? Why did I not even know about this person she was trying to convert or this person for whom he bought meals or this class that he taught in his youth? I regret spending time counseling others, while at his house, when I could have been conversing with him.
And then there are those bigger and more hurtful regrets. The times you raised your voice at a nonagenarian just because he was stubborn about doing his exercises properly or because he kept changing the water temperature in the tub when you had told him to leave it where it was…and mostly because YOU were about five nights behind on sleep. Those little things haunt you because they happened too frequently and you know you should have been kinder. You always apologized, but it’s difficult to get them out of your head. Regret is, of course, wishing you could go back and do something differently…and you can’t.
But I cannot imagine having to deal with the one huge regret as my parents left this life. If there is anyone reading who has walked away from the spiritual training your Christian parents gave to you, may I beg you to return while there is time? Even if your parents are gone from this life—even if they left this world hurting because you had walked away, there is still time to keep yourself from eternal regret. You can see them again and you can exchange regretting for rejoicing when you do. You can never go to heaven because you wanted to please your parents, but you can SURELY please them in the process of pleasing your Lord! I’m so glad for the place of reunion and rejoicing…just beyond the place where I can lay down all regret and pick up the white robe.