A few years ago I found link to an article and shared it in Memo 535. It was written by an Australian woman, Bronnie Ware, who has devoted many hours to working with patients who were dying. Here is a summary of her journey that led to writing the essay:
After too many years of unfulfilling work, Bronnie Ware began searching for a job with heart. Despite having no formal qualifications or experience, she found herself working in palliative care. Over the years she spent tending to the needs of those who were dying, Bronnie's life was transformed. Later, she wrote an Internet blog about the most common regrets expressed to her by the people she had cared for. The article, also called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, gained so much momentum that it was read by more than three million people around the globe in its first year.
THE FIVE REGRETS
Here are the five regrets that Bronnie discovered in working with those patients close to death over the years:
- I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn't work so hard.
- I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Here is what Ware had to say about the first point, the courage to be true to self and not others:
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
DON'T LET IT BE YOUR REGRET
It takes courage to be true to yourself and who God created you to be. The last few weeks, we have looked at the life of King David. Before David went out to fight Goliath, King Saul tried to have David wear his (Saul's) battle armor. Saul was a tall man, however, and the armor didn't fit. David did not try and please the king. Instead he rejected the armor and took along his sling shot, something that was more true to who he was. His success of course is legendary (see 1 Samuel 17:38-40).
Are you wearing someone else's armor? If you are, then you are headed for the number one regret expressed by the dying. Don't do it! I cannot say what you should do, but I can only urge you to follow your heart and stop living your life for someone else, unless however it is for the Lord. I was challenged by this list and I hope you are, too. Now that you have read it, it's time to get about the work of living before it's too late. Have a great week!
KENYA: I am in Kenya. You can read my latest update on my personal blog, or read and subscribe to my travel blog updates. Either way I ask you to follow along, and then pray and give as God directs you. The attached picture was taken by an orphan with my camera last Saturday. They love to take pictures and then view them right away. You can still give to help these children through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh PA, 15221-0882. Thank you for your generous support.