Minister Mark’s June Message
Who will it be?
When it becomes both safe and possible again, who will be the first person you will go to see that you have not been able to during these months of pandemic?
A daughter or son? Parent or grandparent? Sibling? Friend?
Or what will it be?
What will be the first place you will go, or resume doing, or start doing that you have often wanted to but haven’t yet?
Significant life, social and historical events like the one we are in now always seem to inspire reflection on questions like these. They move us to examine our lives for ways in which we might take the people and other blessings in our lives less for granted; better use the gifts, talents and resources God has given us; put more emphasis on what truly matters most; do and be better.
It is highly likely though, that this kind of reflection may also lead to some degree of regret. And while regret is not the most enjoyable of feelings, it can be a helpful one. Psychologists identify two different kinds of regret – “regrets of commission’ and “regrets of omission”; regret over things we have done but shouldn’t and regret over things we have not done but wanted to or could. Of the two, studies suggest that – contrary to what we might expect – regrets of omission cause us greater emotional distress and pain than regrets of commission.
There is good news in this, however. Because while the things we have done which we regret cannot be undone, as long as we are alive there is the possibility for us to do what we have not yet done but wanted to or could. Maybe not everything, and maybe not in an ideal way. There will always be some things which the changing of times and circumstances will preclude us from doing. But that still leaves many things which can be done – regrets which can be avoided.
Like making the time and effort to see the important people in our lives more often while we can. Like telling someone you love them while you can even, or maybe especially, when that kind of thing is out of your comfort zone. Like taking up that hobby, or musical instrument, or other activity while you can even though it will be more difficult than if you had done it at a different time in life. Like sending a note or email to a teacher, coach, supervisor or mentor who helped make you a better person.
Like serving God and God’s people in a way you always wanted to but haven’t tried yet.
As one of my mentors, Dr. Frank McLaughlin, a sociology professor and hospice founder, told me:
“I have heard far fewer people near the end of their life talk about the things they did but shouldn’t have than I have heard talk about the things they wish they had done but didn’t.”
It is not too late. With God, as long as we are in this life, it is never too late.
So who will it be for you? Or what will it be?