“Hell begins that day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts we wasted, all that we might have done that we did not do.” – Composer Gian Carlo Menotti
Do you feel the weight of this quote? Go back and read it again. Read from the perspective that this is your last day. Like Mr. Scrooge, the character in the Christmas Carol, you have been given a gift of seeing your life in review. You are with a guide who has shown you everything. You have seen of the wonderful memories you know by heart. You’ve seen some not-so-good memories, too. What stands out, thanks to the careful eye of your guide, are the moments where opportunities passed you by. You missed the chance to impact someone. You could’ve reached new levels of personal growth. You got your “what-ifs?” answered.
Your guide, like the all-time great quarterback Tom Brady studying game film of his next opponent, points out moments where your gifts could have been used but were neglected. Your guide does this with ease and surgical precision. Each moment spent in this eternal film room of your life shows where you failed to do what should have been done to make a difference in your life and the lives of others around you. You feel the stress and anxiety build. Nervous sweat beads on your forehead. You look around hoping there is no one else watching this replay of your life and hearing what sounds like a lifetime of moments where you missed the mark. You wonder when this will end. It will end, right?
Finally, as if the guide read your mind, the life in review concludes.
You are speechless. Your head in is your hands. All those moments… how could you miss so many? you think to yourself. You think you have spent your years growing and seeking opportunities to impact others. You are always on the look out to use your gifts. Yet, you yield yourself to the fact that you missed more than you thought you did. Your guide, once again, as if reading your thoughts, nods at you and puts a comforting hand on your shoulder. He whispers in your ears one simple question. Just one.
“What will you do differently this time?”
This time? Your heart leaps. It’s not your last day. All the thoughts of how you could live with more significance are flooding your mind. Hope rises within you. You are like a racehorse, ready to run, moments before the gate opens.
What will you do differently this day? Instead of waiting for your life to be in review to get you to do what you know to do, why not take the clarity you have right now and move boldly with what you know. Clarity comes when you are acting, gaining awareness, and doing what you know to do with the knowledge you have. Life is precious. Live as if you will not have another birthday. Write your eulogy today by living it.
What will you do differently today?