Tag Archives: living

My List of NON-Regrets

July 11, 2013

To quote a portion of Edith Piaf’s famous song, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien:”

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things
That went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong

I am acutely aware of living. Hugging longer, looking closer, praying harder and leaping farther. Because of that awareness, I make choices that confuse others and I frame my life in ways that are, at best, unconventional. No is just missing the “t yet” and why becomes “why not?”

Living with awareness was the greatest blessing I found in my father’s passing. At the time, it was a sharply new, jagged truth. It stung to think of and lingered in the shadow of night. Then, clarity.

A new friend recently shared the tragically beautiful story of her father succumbing to brain cancer. It was a humbling gift to hold space for her—a privilege to hear the purity of emotion. This encounter quieted my busy thoughts and reminded me of a list I have been meaning to share with my siblings . . . and will now present to all of you.

My List of NON-Regrets

  1. I will never regret an I love you, spoken or received.
  2. I will never regret a tear, as I no longer see it as weakness.
  3. I will never regret a harsh word left unspoken.
  4. I will never regret giving to help raise up others.
  5. I will never regret a thank you, acknowledged or not.
  6. I will never regret being a goofball to amuse a baby.
  7. I will never regret dancing to a song no one else hears.
  8. I will never regret risking rejection.
  9. I will never regret listening to the Holy Spirit.
  10. I will never regret watching cartoons on Saturday morning.
  11. I will never regret catching snowflakes on my tongue.
  12. I will never regret being empathetic.
  13. I will never regret traveling beyond my comfort zone.
  14. I will never regret moments with my family.
  15. I will never regret seeing my sister married.
  16. I will never regret sitting with my dad playing Spider Solitaire.
  17. I will never regret being still in meditative reflection.
  18. I will never regret smiling.
  19. I will never regret being silly Aunt Sawa.
  20. I will never regret hoping.

Having sat with those nearing end of life and worked with grief-stricken families during the healing process, I can tell you about the fears and regrets. In fact, I recently received this link to “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.” I can tell you with assurance that the essence of a good life is not defined by what we didn’t do or wish had gone differently, but by the moments we soaked up and the love we shared.

I have close friends facing tough journeys with their immediate loved ones. I pray nightly, at least, for their comfort, quality of life and support from God. For those who are called to shepherd their family member through a life-threatening or terminal illness, grief begins at the moment of diagnosis. The weight of that “moment of impact” is overwhelming enough without regrets.

The grieving heart is a truth teller and an ever-present mirror. With that in mind, I have found this song by Brad Paisley, with Dolly Parton, to be a challenge and a comfort at different milestones on my own grief journey. “When I Get Where I’m Going” invites us to explore the afterlife, to remember what is worth living for now and to see beyond the linear timeline.

So, what are your non-regrets?

When We Live in Awe

June 17, 2013

A sunrise over the ocean. A star-filled sky over a campfire. A giggle from a fussy baby. A speech to one, or one million, that moves you to action. A hand holding yours through a trial. A tear-filled farewell to a loved one. A puppy chasing a ball across a polished wood floor. A majestic bird taking flight. The truth is, awe is everywhere.

In fact, awe is within you. It’s the feeling of wonder, the spirit of curiosity, the sense of hope and the remarkable inspiration that drives you to live this moment with passion. When we allow ourselves to fall into stagnancy, succumb to criticism and “settle” for less from our existence, we slip from awe to awful.

So, I took a quiet week away from blogging to really stand in awe of my surroundings, to be in awe of the people I meet and to see where awe lives within my spirit.

What I found is that I am in complete awe of nature. The unaltered beauty, the majesty of creation, the impact of time, the power of the elements and the way it plays with the light. Even a rocky terrain has awe carved into its very form.

Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road

Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road

I am in awe of people. Birth announcements, wedding anniversaries, overcoming depression, starting a new career, standing up for the underdog, opening a door, laughing from belly to crown and connecting with strangers. Individuals awe me constantly, with their unique talents and views.

Aboriginal portrait at National Gallery of Victoria

Aboriginal portrait at National Gallery of Victoria

I am in awe of birds. The chuckling song of a cocobarra, the zealous scavenging of a seagull, the flapping frenzy of a cockatoo, the dance of a fantail and the constant twitter of song from the trees. Few marvels equal the melodies and instinctual music of birds being birds.

Crimson Rosella in southern Australia

Crimson Rosella in southern Australia

I am in awe of the sun. From breathtaking sunrise to magnificent sunset, from cloud-strewn skies of lit gray to cloudless skies blazing bright, I soak up the warmth, I feel the kinship and I know the impact on all living things. I speak to this traveling friend in play and awe.

Facing sunrise

Facing sunrise

I find awe in every day; therefore, I hold unbridled hope for everyone and every thing. During my week of awe exploration, I even discovered awe in myself, including my buoyant maneuverability while snorkeling, the landscape of my creative musings, the joy of my company and the depth of my heart. Be in awe, friends. It’s liberating, humbling and a natural companion to hope.

Awe drawn in the sand