Words of Regret: The Sandpiper

Gerry via CC Flickr

Gerry via CC Flickr

A day or so ago, I read the following story, written by Robert Peterson, who was the man mentioned in this story. It reminded me of how often we are so wrapped up the trials, troubles, or business of our everyday lives…that sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and really enjoy our life. We forget that other people might be dealing with their own hardships and we become careless with the words and actions towards them.

It is my hope that this story will touch your heart and remind you to take time to enjoy the life that you have and try to find uplifting and positive words that may help a person in need.

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

“Hello,” she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

“I’m building,” she said.

“I see that. What is it?” I asked, not really caring.

“Oh, I don’t know, I just like the feel of sand.”

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.

“That’s a joy,” the child said.

“It’s a what?” I asked.

“It’s a joy, my mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.” The bird went gliding down the beach.

“Good-bye joy,” I muttered to myself, “hello pain,” and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

“What’s your name?” She wouldn’t give up.

“Robert,” I answered. “I’m Robert Peterson.”

“Mine’s Wendy….I’m six.”

“Hi, Wendy.”

She giggled. “You’re funny,” she said. In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

“Come again, Mr. P,” she called. “We’ll have another happy day.”

The days and weeks that followed belonged to others; a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother.

The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. “I need a sandpiper,” I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

“Hello, Mr. P,” she said. “Do you want to play?”

“What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

“I don’t know, you say.”

“How about charades?” I asked sarcastically.

Her tinkling laughter burst forth again. “I don’t know what that is.”

“Then let’s just walk,” I said. Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. “Where do you live?” I asked.

“Over there.” She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.

“Where do you go to school?”

“I don’t go to school. Mommy says we’re on vacation.” She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things.

When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed. Three weeks later, I rushed to the beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

“Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, “I’d rather be alone today.”

She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. “Why?” she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” and thought, “My God, why was I saying this to a little child?”

“Oh,” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.”

“Yes,” I said, “and yesterday and the day before and – oh, go away!”

“Did it hurt?” she inquired

“Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself.

“When she died?” she asked.

“Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstand, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

“Hello,” I said. “I’m Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies.”

“Not at all-she’s a delightful child,” I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

“Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn’t tell you.”

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

“She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called “happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly…” Her voice faltered.

“She left something for you…if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?” I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman.

She handed me a smeared envelope with “Mr. P” printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues – a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten how to love opened wide. I took Wendy’s mother in my arms. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words – one for each year of her life – that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand – who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE:
This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy life, living, and each other.

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important and what is only a momentary setback or crisis. Today, tomorrow, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment….even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses

Regrets of the Dying

Photo Credit: John Trumbull via Qikimedia

Photo Credit: John Trumbull via Qikimedia

I have bad news for you…someday you are going to pass away. We all are. It is just a part of life. The million dollar question is…how well are we living the life that we have been given? Are we doing everything that we can do to help others? Make a difference in this world? Are we satisfied with the way that we are living our lives? Is our soul at ease and at peace? Have you achieved all of your life’s goals and have done everything that you wanted to do?

Well, if you have answered “no” to a few of the questions that I previously mentioned, then I have GREAT NEWS…you still have time to do the things that you may want to do (or at least some of them). No one wants to pass from this earth or lay on their death bed, regretting the things that they could have done in their life or the ways that they could have treated others (or themselves) when they were still able to do so.

I read an article a week or so ago on Tip News (DNA, March 12, 2014) that talked about the regrets of the dying. It made me really think how fast my life is going and how life passed these people by, so fast, that they never had a chance to do the things that they always wanted to do and suffered great regret because of it. It is my hope and prayer that after you read the following article, it will inspire you to live your life in such a way, that in the end, you will have no regrets. What will you decide to do?

“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly.

Choose happiness.”

A Box of Kisses

Photo Credit: asenat29 via Slickr

Photo Credit: asenat29 via Slickr

There are times in our lives when we react to situations without thinking or knowing the facts in negative ways: saying inappropriate things, losing our temper etc. In the end, once we find out what REALLY happened and WHY…we often feel humiliated, ashamed or foolish. This is a story that will touch your heart and hopefully, and remind us to remember to be patient, take our time and understand why sometimes, when we jump to the wrong conclusions, it can affect us more than we could ever imagine.

This is a re-post of one of the first blogs that I ever posted.

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, “Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

We need to remember that while our words can help uplift and soothe a person’s soul…they can also be hurtful. We need to be careful of “jumping to conclusions” and saying things that may hurt someone before knowing an entire situation. In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses… from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.

A Box of Kisses: Words of Regret

Photo Credit: 123rf.com

Photo Credit: 123rf.com

This is a story that will touch your heart and hopefully, help you to understand why sometimes, when we jump to the wrong conclusions, it can affect you more than you’ll ever know.

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, “Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses… from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.

My Life is Over: No Regrets

Photo Credit: Ladyheart via morguefile.com

Photo Credit: Ladyheart via morguefile.com

This past year has been one of the most heart-wrenching and hardest years of my life. It was a week before Christmas, last year, when I lost my best friend in the world, my dad. A week or so later, as soon as I got home from his memorial service, I found out that one of my friends got killed in a snowmobile accident. He left behind a wife and a 3 year old son. From that time until today, four more people that I knew and loved passed away…but the memorial service that I attended today was one of the hardest. The service was for a man that I loved very, very much. I used to tell him that he was my second dad and he and his wife would call me their “second son.”

He was what every dad and husband should be to a family: a caring and kind father who loved his two children beyond measure. He would do anything for them and always demonstrated his love by what he did and said to them. But his wife was his queen. He treated her like royalty. She was the one that he absolutely loved, cherished and adored. It was evident by the way they looked, talked, and spent time with each other. She was truly, in every sense of the word, his “soul-mate.” I used to always tell the two of them, if I was to look up the word “soul-mate” in the dictionary, I would find a picture of them next to the word.

My friend loved life to the fullest and he loved to laugh…it was SO infectious to the people around him. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with having pancreatic cancer which was the disease that sadly took his life four days ago. During the past month or so, when they found out that the disease was not progressing in the right direction, my friend and his wife decided to spend their precious remaining time together talking about how blessed they were and looking back during their 52 years of marriage…they had no regrets (other than having more time together). Their love for each other was complete and unconditional. They expressed a true love for each other that was apparent to everyone that knew them.

I sat there and thought to myself, how many of us, when we are at the end of our lives here on earth, will be able to say to our spouse and loved ones, that we had no regrets. How many of us, even now, have regret about things that we never did or said to the ones that we love? How many of us might regret something that we may have done or said to someone? Regret is a strong emotion and it can cause a lot of grief and sadness to a person…if they allow it. So make it a goal, each day, to live without regret. Take time to do or say something special with your better half each day, while time is still on your side…so that you can someday say to the ones you love, that the life you shared with them was a blessing and, most importantly…you had no regrets.

Last Words

Photo Credit: BaileyRaeWeaver via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: BaileyRaeWeaver via CC Flickr

Sometimes, some things are better left unsaid….

One day a girl, Sara, who was fifteen years old, came home from school in a very bad mood. She’d had a fight with her best friend that day and it hadn’t turned out well at all.

“Sara!” her mom yelled. “What are you doing? You know to do your chores right when you get home! And you’re late!”

“Coming, Mom!” Sara yelled, getting up and stomping towards the kitchen. “What?” she snapped as her mother gave her a stern look, annoyed.

“You’d better straighten up your attitude, young lady,” her mom warned, “or you’ll be grounded.”

“Whatever.” Sara began to throw around the dishes in the sink, trying to make as much noise as she possibly could. A plate cracked and cut her hand. Sara cursed.

“Sara!” her mom exclaimed. “How dare you use that language! Go to your room!”

“No!” Sara yelled, throwing down the towel she was using to wipe the blood off her hand.

“Do you want to say ‘no’ one more time and see what happens?” her mom asked. She looked furious.

“Sure,” Sara said sarcastically. “No.”

“How dare you!” Her mother slapped her.

Sara shrank back, staring incredulously at her mom. She had never hit Sara before.

“I HATE YOU!” Sara screamed before running out of the house.

“Sara, get back here!” her mom yelled, running after her.

“Leave me alone!” Sara screamed, running across the street. “I HATE YOU!” she screamed again. She continued running until she heard the sound of screeching tires and a scream. She turned around,hoping that it wouldn’t be what she thought it would be….

People were crowding around Sara’s mother, who was laying in the middle of the street, looking broken, bloody.

“NOOOO!” Sara screamed, running over and pushing through everyone to kneel by her mom. “Oh no, oh no….”

Her mom wasn’t moving or breathing. She was gone. Sara tipped back her head and wailed to the sky, sobbing so hard it hurt.

She couldn’t believe the last words she had spoken to her mother were “I hate you”.

We all need to be careful how to react to our family, friends and loved ones when we get mad. Remember, when we tell people that we hate them, or any other rude thing, remember it might be the last thing you ever say to them.

If You Had to Live Your Life Over Again…

tombstone

If you had the chance and could turn back the hands of time…what would you change from your past??

 

Life is precious. It goes by so fast it’s amazing. I just turned 50 earlier this year and I can’t believe how fast the years have flown by. My grandmother used to say “the older you get…the days get longer and the years get shorter.” How true it is!! I have also realized something else, I am beginning to think to myself more and more…what could I have done different in my life.

 

What would I have changed?

 

It has always been interesting to me to walk through a graveyard and see all the tombstones. The thing that has always intrigued me is this…when I see the engraved tombstones of people who have passed on, most of them have two dates inscribed on them…the birth date and the date of their death separated by a hyphen…what did their “hyphen” represent? The hyphen represents their ENTIRE LIFETIME. This is when I ask myself, what kind of life did this person have? Did the person regret things that they had done? Did they have a good life? Would they have changed things during their lifetime if they could? Would they have thought that their life was successful or a failure? etc. Interesting thoughts…

 

Anyway, I recently came across a story written by a lady, Erma Bombeck after she found out that she was dying from cancer (truthbook.com) which allowed me to think about areas in my life that I can control now. There is no healthy reason to dwell on the past regarding things that I can no longer do anything about. So, I am moving on and focusing on ways that will make my life more positive, whole, and enjoyable.

 

Here is Erma’s story…

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

 

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

 

I would have talked less and listened more.

 

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

 

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

 

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

 

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

 

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

 

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

 

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

 

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

 

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

 

There would have been more of “I love you” and more “I’m sorry.” But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it, live it…and never give it back.

 

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what. Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who DO love us.

 

Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

 

Life is too short to let it pass you by.

———————–

So, what are YOU going to do with your life to makes things better? Help others? Demonstrate your love to your loved ones? Take time each day to REALLY enjoy your surroundings and the world around you? The choice is yours.

 

What would you do?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

A Box of Kisses

This is a story that will touch your heart and hopefully, help you to understand why sometimes, when we jump to the wrong conclusions, it can effect you more than you’ll ever know.

A Box of Kisses: A Story of Jumping to Conclusions
Gold3

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, “Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

We need to remember that while our words can help uplift and soothe a person’s soul….they can also be hurtful. We need to be careful of “jumping to conclusions” and saying things that may hurt someone before knowing an entire situation. In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses… from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.

—————————-
Author: Unknown
Photo Credit: 123rf.com
Source: Indianchild.com