A Facebook friend posted this article that caught my attention and got me thinking: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. My first question was, “Do I have any of these five regrets?” I don’t exactly know why but my very next question was, “Would UBF people have these regrets?” Before I answer these questions, here are the top five regrets of the dying:
- I wish I had followed my dreams and done what I truly wanted.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I had expressed my feelings more often.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish I had made more time in my life for nonsense and laughter.
I hope this does not come off in an off putting way, but when my wife and I saw these five regrets we both blurted out spontaneously and simultaneously: “Wow, we don’t have any of these five regrets” (even after taking into account that I have been in UBF for the last 36 years since 1980 when I became a Christian). So briefly, my responses to these five regrets of the dying are:
- No regret: I followed my dreams. I came to the U.S. from Malaysia against all odds, and I started a new UBF church plant (if you can call it that) and started preaching regularly and often weekly in my 50s! Most of all I married perhaps the only person in the world who could put up with me and not leave me.
- No regret: I did not work too hard. Rather, I often feel that I am lazy, not well disciplined, don’t accomplish as much as I want or should, and definitely not working as hard as I want or should.
- No regret: I express myself, my feelings and my opinions–maybe too much. As a choleric person, I have very little problem expressing what I wish to express, regardless of the disapproval and dislike, chiding and chastisement of others.
- No regret: I’m staying in touch/reconnecting with family and old friends. I began doing this over the past decade, which has been such a joy and delight. I did not prior to that because I thought it was God’s will that I “leave my country, my people and my father’s household” (Gen 12:1).
- No regret: I love nonsense and laughter–maybe/probably too much! At a recent wedding address I said, “The family that laughs together lasts forever.” Whenever something makes me really angry and upset, I will try to find something or some angle that is really silly and ridiculous so that I can laugh about it rather than be remaining incensed, indignant and irritated. I’ve often said, “I would rather laugh until my stomach hurts, rather than that hurt myself by hitting the ceiling.”
The above does not mean that I take nothing seriously, or that I blurt out everything I feel. So obviously there can be much further elaboration and expansion of my brief abbreviated comments above.
What about my second spontaneous question: “Would UBF people have there regrets?” I don’t think so, and here’s why:
- No regret. UBF thinks that you should not follow your dream and do what you want because because you must deny your dream and follow God’s mission.
- No regret. UBF thinks that not only should you work very very hard, but that you should work even harder than hard for God and God’s mission.
- No regret. UBF thinks you must not freely and honestly express yourself because you must deny yourself and die to yourself every day like Jesus.
- No regret. UBF thinks you must cut off your own family and friends (unless they are in UBF) so that you can become a part of God’s family.
- No regret. UBF thinks that God’s mission is very serious and not a laughing matter. There is clearly no place for nonsense like enjoying your cat or your favorite Olympic event, especially when there is a UBF conference that you must seriously work hard and prepare for.
It seems that both I and UBF have no regrets, but for sharply contrasting reasons. What about you? Do you have any regrets? Do those you know/knew in UBF have any of these five regrets?