A Confession of Regret

Last night I had to confess.

I have come to the realization that most regrets come from things not done rather than things that were.

Several years ago I received a call one evening from a close friend of mine. I hadn’t seen him in a while but he was one of those friends that no matter how much time passes by it’s only an instant.  I was thrilled to hear from him. The last time I had seen him he was arm in arm with his beautiful wife that he had fell in love with in college. They were all smiles as always.

We started to make some quick small talk on the phone and then he told me he had something to tell me. I asked casually what was up. He then proceeded to tell me how he and his wife had separated. I was crushed! I honestly felt like crying. They were “the” couple. Two beautiful kids, great careers and people you’d just want to spend your life hanging out with.  I honestly was surprised by the intense reaction I was having to the news.

As he told me some details all I could think of was getting in my car and driving the three hours to where he was so I could give him a big hug and tell him how much I loved and cared about him. Even after we hung up the phones and I was telling my wife of the situation, all I could think of was get in the car but then there was that small part of my brain that said, “maybe tomorrow it’s late”.

The Next Day...

The next day came, my heart still hurt. I was still thinking about after work making the drive to see him. Then the end of the work day came, I was tired, and the part of my mind that’s oh so gifted at rationalizing ridiculousness convinced me that maybe the next day would be better. Good grief.


Four years later...

Now let’s fast forward about four years. I received a call from another dear friend of mine this past week to let me know his mother had passed away. She was one of the greats. Always kind, gentle and smiling. I told him how sorry I was to hear of her passing and asked what arrangements were made. He informed me that the memorial service would be held several days later, which as I write this was last night.

Every week my wife and I volunteer for a student event in the evening one night and it just so happened to fall on the same evening of the memorial. The service was to be held a little over an hour away and I really wanted to be there to honor how special she was and to see my dear friend. As you can guess that voice of rationalization started to creep in and remind me how busy my day and night already were and how an earth could I squeeze another thing in.

In life we all have moments of failure and then we have moments of success. This time, I would succeed!  I made it thru my tiring work day and then went to our student event. I was able to get things in place and then leave early to make the drive out of town to the memorial.

It was sad to be attending the service and the circumstance but it was great to able to wrap my arms around my friend and tell him how much I love him. Funerals are always a reminder of how precious every moment is and how regrets of moments lost can pile up when we lose awareness.

It was at this moment that I saw out of the corner of my eye my other close friend that I started this story telling you about. He was there! He had made the three-hour drive to be there for our mutual friend. It was at this moment that I went over and hugged him tight, told him I loved him and then confessed the regret I had been living with for the last four years.

He was cool as a cucumber and told me it was no big deal. I believe him. But it didn’t matter. It was a BIG deal to me. I knew what I wanted, no needed to do and failed to do so. It was a great opportunity to succeed in confessing my failure to him. He listened with a smile and updated me on how well everything was going for him, his children and his ex. He was awesome. What a great friend.

So why am I telling you this story?

We all have moments where we know what we need to do, but somehow we let time go by and don’t do it. Sometime it’s life goals. Sometimes it’s as simple as making a phone call to say hello. Other times it’s something that would make a great impact in someone’s life. I beg you, don’t wait till you have to attend a funeral to be pushed to take action.

As Nike would say, “Just do it”.

And I will add, “NOW!”

Don’t live a life of regrets of things undone. That voice that rationalizes and holds us back is stealing moments of success from us. Listen to what you know is true. Make all your moments count.