Regret, it’s a funny thing…….. and we all have regrets. I remember the season like it was yesterday. It was a week and a half before spring furniture market; my busiest time at work, a week before an overnight trip to Washington DC with my youngest son and a week since I had to make a decision by myself to move my mother to the Hospice facility. Life was crazy and I was holding it together by a tiny thread. No one knew, because that’s what I do. I am strong and keep it all together for those around me.
March 29, 2011 is a day I think of often. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and I was at the Hospice House for my daily visit with my mother. A few days before when I was there visiting she had her eyes open; a sight that will forever be embedded in my brain. Those amazing clear blue eyes of hers said so many things to me that day even though she could not speak any words. They said ‘I love you’, ‘I am scared’, ‘I am brave’, ‘I am sad for all the things I am going to miss enjoying with you when I leave this place’, ‘take care of your dad for me’, ‘Kiss your kids for me because I love them dearly’, ‘I am ready to meet my maker’ and many more things. But on March 29th 2011 when I entered the room her eyes were closed, her breathing shallow and she was very peaceful. I held her hand but I never said a word. I was almost relieved that she was not awake. I wasn’t sure I could handle seeing those eyes saying all those things to me again. I sat there with her for almost two hours and the time came for me to leave. My motherly duties were about to kick in and I was due at a sporting event for one of my kids. I remember stopping at the door and looking back at her wondering if she would be awake when I returned a few hours later. Little did I know that 15 minutes later………….15 minutes after I left the room she would be gone to her forever home.
15 minutes…………if only I would have stayed 15 minutes longer. If only I would have said to myself ‘you will have many more sporting events to attend, but you don’t know how much longer you have with your mom’. If only. Regret. I regret that I was so busy trying to be everything to everybody that I missed the most important 15 minutes of that day. I was trying to work a full time job, keep up with the kids, a husband, a house, and a dying mother. I was determined to be super woman and keep it all together and all going; determined to not let anyone down. 15 minutes.
Thankfully when I left that day my mom’s sister came to take her shift of visiting my mom. I am so very thankful that my aunt was there with my mom during those 15 minutes and was with her when she took her last breath and left this earthly home for eternal life.
The last year and a half I have thought about those 15 minutes almost every day. The last year and a half I have gone over the many 15 minute regrets I have in my life. The 15 minutes I didn’t stop to hug my kids really tight before they left for school; the 15 minutes I didn’t stay longer visiting with my grandmother who was such an amazing woman; the 15 minutes I didn’t read to my kids one night; the 15 minutes I didn’t stop my husband and tell him how much I appreciated him and really loved him; the 15 minutes that I didn’t really see that my friend may have needed me a little longer; the 15 minutes that God wanted me to spend in extra time in prayer. 15 minutes.
There are a lot of 15 minute opportunities in your day. I urge you to use them wisely every day. Stop, pause, and think each and every day how you can better spend just 15 minutes. Don’t let a 15 minute time period be your forever regret.
During this season of spring and Easter, think about how many 15 minute periods Christ hung on the cross for you; dying so you could one day have a life where you never remember YOUR 15 minute regrets. Live each day to the fullest, love those in your life like you will lose them tomorrow (because you may) and be there for those that need you; because sometimes those 15 minutes become a lifetime of regret.
Place those regrets at the feet of Jesus this season and know that God can calm your soul and take those regrets and turn them into more opportunities for 15 minutes that you will cherish the rest of your life.
With Gratitude for all the 15 minute opportunities that God has in store for me in my upcoming years; 15 minute opportunities that I don’t plan on turning into regrets.