This is not morbid, honest, but well worth a few minutes’ reading and consideration.

Perusing the books in a local library (yes, there are still some left, despite the cuts) I came across a book by Bronnie Ware called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. Intrigued I gave it a glance or two – a false positive in a diagnosis recently had me giving some serious thought to my mortality so I had the frame of mind of wanting to make sure that my affairs were in order. (They are, after a fashion, but there is only so much filing one wants to do when the sun is shining).

So, I’ve borrowed the book but I shall not read all of it through; I found the list of “five regrets” thought-provoking enough. The book started out as a post on Bronnie Ware’s blog and you might like to take a look – useful summary or starting point as you wish. It is based on her experiences working in palliative care with patients who were dying. From my experience as a pastor, and as a mortal human being, they ring true. However, there is no mention of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit with the list, and I wonder why.

The five regrets of the dying that Bronnie Ware identifies:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier

And the point of identifying these regrets is so that the living might do something about them while there is yet time.

The fact is, no life is perfect, and it would be very easy to find something to regret – and the danger is to let the regrets take hold of us. Thankfully neither death nor regret need have the last word: God’s gift of Resurrection and hope have seen to that.