The day before Thanksgiving I got a call from my Mom. She went to the doctor for a nagging sore throat, and the doctor was sending her to the ER…for her heart. She said it was nothing. The doctor just didn’t like something he saw on the EKG. I drove over to see her. When I arrived, my mom told me that they had taken some blood and that they didn’t like her white blood cell count. It was too high. I’m thinking, “what does this have to do with her heart? Is she at risk of a heart attack?”
Last week we started taking a look at the 5 regrets of the dying.
We started with the most common: Living based on someone else’s expectations instead of being true to yourself.
If you missed part 1, you can find it here.
The second regret is, “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
People spend the best hours of their life exchanging time for dollars. All the while rationalizing that it’s temporary. We tell ourselves, “soon it will be different.”
We’ll get that promotion.
We’ll get that raise.
There is a very special brand of person that has been called to serve the dying in their final days. The caregivers who work in hospice and palliative care operate in proximity to death on a daily basis and they work to bring peace and rest to those in their stead.
For these angels of mercy, there are 5 themes that seem to repeat from those they serve. They are the issues that rob the dying of their peace. While they wrack those in their final days with regret, they can serve as instruction to those of us with much more life ahead of us.
O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!”
Most of us have a very unhealthy relationship with time. Namely, we have a naive working belief that we have plenty of it.
“I’ll get to it tomorrow.”
The reality is that our life is, as it says in the Scripture above, “a few handbreadths.”