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April 12, 2011

2

Regrets — A somber view from the finish line of life

by Dave Malnes

“The question to ask at the end of life’s race is not so much, “What have I accomplished?” but “Whom have I loved, and how courageously?”     (Geoff Gorsuch)

The look in their eyes made a deep impression with me.  The look of regret.  The pain etched in disappointment.  The grief associated with knowing that they missed the one giant opportunity that will never come back again.

These were successful men.  Men who I admired, appreciated and respected.  They were good Christians and leaders at my church.  Now nearing retirement age, I looked upon these men for wisdom and encouragement.  But when the subject came up regarding their family, the pained look clouded over their faces.  Their sons had long stopped coming to church.  Their poor life choices and broken marriages had created a whirlpool of a messy life that made it difficult to break free.  And the fathers knew that their lack of time and attention at home played a role in their son’s difficult life.  Their family had taken a back seat in their pursuit toward success.  But later in life, the definition of success had changed for them and they wished they could have done things much differently if they had another chance.

I felt the Lord was giving me that chance while I listened to their advice and learned from their mistakes.  I didn’t want to experience their pain.

I believe it is a courageous thing for a man to sacrifice the pursuit for worldly success for the sake of his family.  The whispers of material gain and earthly fame are very hard to ignore.  What is even more difficult for a young man is to look at the race of life from the grandstands and not from the track.  You have two different views.  From the track, you are so busy running the race that you can only see life one step at a time.  From the grandstand, you can clearly see the finish line and the end of the race.  And the question remains, “How do you want to finish?”

A man can finish the race and win the gold medal and be recognized by the world for his accomplishment.  But if there is nobody at home to cheer you, to love you for who you are no matter what, than what’s the point?  The gold medal becomes a relic and long-forgotten.  And that also goes with our relationship with God.  If we become so busy loving life instead of keeping an eternal perspective, there will come a day when we are confronted with the deepest regret of all when God says to you, “Go away, I never knew you.”  The weeping and gnashing of teeth associated with eternal regret is something I want to avoid at all costs.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clare Webster
    Apr 19 2011

    Though this is very much a Western man’s perspective it touched me very much. As a mother and homemaker who was able to make other choices than pursue a career, the reminder of making my relationship with God a priority as well is a timely one. Thank you for this.

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    • merganzerman
      Apr 19 2011

      Thank you for dropping by, Clare. I’m curious to know what you mean by a Western man’s perspective. I confess that Americans have a different perspective on things — both good and bad — and how that can infuriate those from across the world. It’s a cultural thing perhaps. And I would also say that you did pursue a very noble career in being a full-time homemaker. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

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