Regret for the things we have done can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. Sydney J. Harris
If you are reading this quote correctly, it should make you feel a little unsteady, maybe even weak in the knees. The truth this quote delivers is the big stuff…. it speaks of those moments in our lives where we get to decide who we really are.
In my many years of work with those at the end of life, I have learned that it is the things we don’t do that rattle behind us like a ball and chain when we are trying to make a smooth exit from this world. The empty void of having been complacent when action was required haunts far more than a mistake made ever can.
We did not come here to stay silent when someone needs our voice. We are not meant to stand idle when there is a higher place to step up to. Taking action is often difficult, while remaining still and silent feels safe. That safety is like a mirage in the desert that holds nothing but the dust of regret.
If we act, and in doing so we err, we can always make amends for the things we have done… but when the chance for doing is gone, it does not come ’round again… after that, all we have is the ball and chain of regret, and it comes with us, everywhere we go.