Why Wait Until Death?

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth…” Psalm 39:4-5

I regularly visit a variety of great Christian blogs and usually receive much from them. Yet the blog that has had the greatest practical impact on my life is not a Christian one. Ironically, I only spent about a minute or two reading it and never visited it again.

The blog is Bronnie Ware’s, an Australian nurse who spent a number of years working in palliative care. Whilst caring for her patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives, Bronnie began noting that the regrets they had were remarkably similar.

She started a blog, recorded her observations and struck a nerve. It attracted three million visitors in its first year and birthed the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Here they are:
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 that I had let myself be happier.

It was the second one that got to me. In Bronnie’s own words: “This came from every male patient that I nursed. “ Talk about a life-changing revelation.

Bronnie does not address spirituality, but her blog reveals a remarkable truth: Dying people are extremely clear thinkers.

David understood this, and so he prayed the prayer above, leaving us with a magnificent insight: We need not wait for death to see through the facade of our lives. We can do so right now.

5 thoughts on “Why Wait Until Death?

  1. a God-man in Christ May 18, 2012 / 9:53 am

    As we live our life daily, we may think “everything is fine with us” and even that “we are invincible”; but when we’re confronted with death, the most powerful thing in the world, we start thinking and pondering on serious matters. My prayer is also, Lord, cause me to know how fleeting my life is, that I may redeem the time because the days are evil!

    I want to gain Christ today! I want to pursue Him to gain Him and be gained by Him right now! All I have is… NOW!

  2. Chris Lovie-Tyler May 18, 2012 / 10:49 am

    Thanks, Tobie. I’d rather think about this stuff now than when it’s too late.

  3. naturalchurch May 19, 2012 / 12:33 pm

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I think Satan’s biggest lie still is “you shall surely not die”. And we still believe him, unfortunately.

    • Chris Lovie-Tyler May 19, 2012 / 9:57 pm

      Probably right, Tobie! I’ve had enough people die around me, and some health problems of my own, to know life is not to be taken for granted. We have to make the most of now. God grant that we would.

  4. dylancromhout June 9, 2012 / 12:28 pm

    Wow, this is revealing. I guess I definitely fall into the second category. I work loads. Whether I will always is another question. My desires have changed though. I do not desire to work all the time. I guess there are seasons.

    Recently the Lord dealt with me very severely in the area of what I base my identity on. It used to be work, until the Lord removed it from me. I no-longer desire to prove my worth through working. Not to myself or others. This is a very real struggle for most men. We need to provide, yet at the same time find our Identity in Christ, not in what we do. It is difficult.

    And strikingly, I can also relate to the last one. I sometimes remember times when I used to let myself be happier. I think they were times when I was in love…. First at high-school😉 and then when I met the Lord. Wow, I was high on happiness. I was overjoyed with my new Lord and His love for me. Now I am still “happy” just not overjoyed all the time.

    Question is, how does one stay happy? And what is happiness really? Should we strive to be happy or content? Or are they the same thing?

    PS: It is interesting that people realised that they could have been happier if only they had LET themselves. In other words, this is something that they actually had “control” over, yet chose not to allow it. So often we keep ourselves from experiencing life as it should be. I wonder why that is….

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