A few years ago, a hospice nurse named from Bonnie Ware shared the five most common regrets expressed to her by her patients at the end of their lives. Here they are:

  1. “I wish that I would have had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life that others expected of me.”
  2. This regret was expressed by her male patients who felt that they had missed the companionship of their children and partners: “I wish that I hadn’t worked so hard.”
  3. “I wish that I would have had the courage to express my feelings.”
  4. “I wish that I would have stayed in touch with my friends.”
  5. At the end of their lives, these patients realized that their contentment was a choice, not a circumstance: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

I think that this list offers us a lot of insight! Many of us definitely need to reevaluate our lives and prioritize what really matters. But I also believe that this list offers us a spiritual insight. Regardless of whatever regrets Ms. Ware’s patients expressed at the end of their lives, immediately following their deaths they either experienced a comfort like they had never known in this life, or immediate remorse. The sobering truth is that at the end of each of our lives, the most important thing will be whether or not we were obedient to Jesus.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
(2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)

In Christ,
Jonathan Anderson