When Regret Lingers


It was early evening when I stood on my porch while surveying the yard work I had done that day. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the glimpse of a figure of a lone man walking down the sidewalk towards my house. He seemed to be laboring and hunched over as he slowly made his way past. His head was down and he seemed to be studying every inch of the concrete before him so as not to trip over a crack. He never saw me but I recognized him as a man in his fifties who had been in my house on occasion. He was a man who I found to be humble and full of goodness, yet he was a bit uncomfortable to talk with, so…I let him pass without saying hello. I was busy, tired from the day, and I just wasn’t in the mood for a ‘friendly chat.’

Later I found out that he passed away the same night I wasn’t in a friendly mood. I was left pondering about the fragile nature of life, but mostly regretting that I hadn’t taken the time to hold a last conversation with him. We never know when our conversation or actions with loved ones will be our last. The son of Gordon B. Hinckley once said:

“When I was a boy, my father often would use an interesting phrase when he was offering the family prayer. He would say, “Heavenly Father, please bless us that we may live without regret.”

A good motto for all of us should be that we live without regrets. We need to ‘seize the moment’ and take advantage of every opportunity to be a friend to all. For me, and this man, the time is now past and the opportunity missed. I just wasn’t in the mood for a ‘friendly chat that day and now my regret lingers!

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