I recently heard a speaker tell of a nurse of the terminally ill who often asked her patients, “Do you have any regrets?”
This nurse’s question has given me pause to reflect, and I’m not even sick. Her patients’ most frequent responses?
1. I wish I had spent more time with the people I love.
2. I wish I had lived up to my potential.
3. I wish I had let myself be happier.
The question should not be saved for the terminally ill. As healthy adults we should ask ourselves the question, and then go about making our regrets satisfying successes.
Because the #1 response is at the top of my “If I could go back and live life over again,” it’s this response that I would like to address.
I have heard it said repeatedly that our families should be our A#1 priority in life. I have heard it, I have tried to live it, and I have observed what happens to families where this principle is embraced. If our lives are too busy for positive family time and conversation, then we need to carefully and even prayerfully examine why our B#2 and C#3’s are pushing our time and attention away from A#1. The choice is ours to make.
My husband recently chose to bow out of a project that he had been committed to for the past four years. He spent countless hours at his office meeting with people, reading/answering emails, and studying to keep informed on all that this project required. His intentions were admirable, and the praise he received was ego inflating, but about 3 ½ years into this obligation he realized that what he was accomplishing was not worth the time spent away from our family and me. When he announced that he would be “passing the torch” many were surprised and even protested his decision. But each time when he responded with, “I want to spend more time with my wife,” each of his associates immediately stopped protesting.
In case you are concerned, this project was not putting bread on our table or a roof over our head. It was a passion he had developed, and he had CHOSEN to get involved.
I know many men and women who have their own passions: Golf, sports, Facebook, the Internet, friends, and politics to name a few. And there’s nothing wrong with having a passion as long as we keep them in their place…behind A#1… the family. When we put as much time and effort into creative time and meaningful conversation with our family members as we do some of our passions, at the end of the day we will have no regrets…and at the end of our lives only satisfaction in knowing we gave our best time and attention to our families.