had’s and hadn’t’s

I generally try to follow advice. Even if it doesn’t seem to make perfect sense, or doesn’t really click, if somebody gives me advice, it’s usually from personal experience, and experience is (usually) a pretty good teacher. At least I give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, then I learned something. Invariably, I’ll have learned more than I would have learned if I’d kept on doing things the way I normally do. One bit of advice I learned was, in summary, “At the end of your life, you’ll want to think ‘I wish I hadn’t’ more than you’ll want to think ‘I wish I had.’ “

I tried it out and realized it is completely and painfully true. And I can’t believe how long I’ve lived not acting like that’s true. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful, and there are so many times when I’m deciding between doing something and not doing something and I chose to notdo because my heart crams my brain full of excuses like “I need to go home and sleep” or “that would be too awkward.”

[Excuse, noun. 1. Something that usually isn’t true.]

Obviously, if the thing you’re debating doing is immoral, then don’t. But don’t look back and realize that you could have helped a friend not make a decision to do something incredibly stupid, or that you could have chosen to be kind to somebody who you later realized was going through a really hard time, or that you could have spent that extra hour with a friend who you weren’t going to see again for years, or that you could have said goodbye and I love you to a family member you definitely weren’t going to see… ever again.

I have a lot of days, and you probably do too, where I’m just positive I’ve screwed up myself and everything in my life  (if it’s a really bad day, I’ve screwed up everybody else’s lives, too.) But I’m certain I will never regret loving others, loving God, snatching up opportunities, taking time for others, and most importantly, trying my best. Anyway, that’s my advice.

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