Imagine with me for a moment. The year is 2045 and I am eighty-five years old and living out my final moments on earth. My children and grandchildren are with me. Lisa is by my side. In that emotional final hour together, one of my grandchildren thinks to ask one last question. “Mac! What is the one thing that you regret most in life?” I think for a moment at this very important question and then I respond with this: “I should not have turned the truck around that day back in 15′ when Mimi and I were living in Cambridge, Ohio and returned to Riesbeck’s Grocery Store and bought that one extra donut. I should have been content with enjoying the first two – but, instead, I went back for one more. You see, they were so good that I just decided to go back and have another. I regret that more than anything in my life.”
Now, back to reality. Here Lisa and I are still in Cambridge, Ohio in what is the beginning of the end of our time here. Her final thirteen week assignment began this past Monday and we know that we will be home in May. And this morning that absurd thought I asked you to imagine with me actually went through my mind as I wrestled with the idea of turning our truck around to buy and then eat two more soft, warm, fresh out of the oven donuts from Riesbeck’s. Should I or should I not? I could certainly stand to drop a few pounds and those donuts are killing my figure. So I continued to drive away from the temptation but then the thought of living without regrets entered my mind and I realized that the only lasting regret I will have in my life is depriving myself of those simple pleasures. I am fifty-five years old, living in Ohio in the dead of winter with snow falling all around me knowing temperatures are expected to plunge into the single digits this weekend. I miss my family and friends – I hate the winter here and the daily battle of living in an RV during freezing temperatures. I’m sick of hearing about Ohio State football and navigating around the oil and gas trucks that have inundated the area and torn the highways to shreds. I’m damn tired of long, dark nights and dreary, gray days. But, this morning I found these really good donuts and I enjoyed them thoroughly. And then I turned my truck around and went back to have more. And I am so glad I did.
Don’t get me wrong here. I know about moderation and understand health issues of too many donuts or too much of anything. Too much is too much – I get it. But every now and then, I believe, we should enjoy the good things we find in life and enjoy them without regret. John Piper, a Christian writer, coined the phrase, “Christian Hedonism” in his book, “Desiring God”, and suggested that we should live our lives in total satisfaction in Him (God). His famous quote from that book is, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” I would never want to be accused of equating God to a donut. But, in a sense, there is a similarity – at least in how we respond to each. Just as people will deny themselves the pleasure of a pastry, I am aware that many God-fearing Christians will also deny themselves the pleasure of God’s grace, forgiveness and finished, redemptive work. In certain Christian circles to rest and enjoy life would be an abomination in God’s eyes and we should, instead, toil and suffer and hurt and deny ourselves any carnal pleasures. I believe I am theologically correct in saying, “To Hell with that.” Enjoy the life God has given you.
I read of a study that was done of senior adults asking what they would do different in their lives if given the chance. One of the most interesting responses was that they would risk more. Think about that. If I am in my final moments in life – I can’t imagine a person saying things such as: I should never have taken the chance on that business; never should have taken that really expensive trip; never should have bought that sixty dollar steak dinner. That has not and will not ever happen.
You will not hear me say “I never should have turned the truck around in 15′ and bought that other donut.” But, I do have one regret. I should have bought more.
Enjoy every bite! Love, Steve and Lisa