“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
These words came to me in a dream last night.
A Doorway to the Sky
When I was a child
I remember lying outside on the grass
I remember standing in a doorway to the sky
Without hesitation, I moved through the door and I became a bird
As I extended my arms, my wings unfolded naturally, and I glided freely through the clouds and over the mountains
Up here, I felt invincible. I felt alive. Anything was possible.
When I was a teenager
I remember being in my room
I don’t remember liking myself very much
I remember looking at the ground a lot
I don’t remember looking at the sky or the doorway
I felt lonely. I felt misunderstood.
When I was an Adult
I remember the glare of the florescent lights in my office and having lunch at my desk
By the time I got home it was dark
I remember being busy and having fun
I don’t remember finding time to look at the sky
I don’t remember missing it
I felt restless. I felt needy.
When I was Married and a Parent
I was constantly distracted by the list of things to do and the needs of my children, work and life
Every now and then I would lay beside them outside on the grass and they would suggest excitedly, “Let’s pretend we are birds and can fly freely through the sky.”
I remembered how much I loved doing that when I was their age, and how it made me me feel larger than life, and as I answered another text on my phone, I realized how quickly I had lost my ability to expand and dream
I felt unsupported. I felt tired
When my children left home
I remember standing at the airport watching them go up in a plane and travel to faraway places
I remember feeling excited knowing they were free to expand and do what they had always dreamed of
I remember thinking I would have time to do all the things I said I would do, now they had left home
I got busy again
I still forgot to look at the sky
I felt life was going too fast
On my deathbed
I feel weak. I feel pain. I never thought about my death. I never imagined it would creep up on me so quickly
My great grandson, is sitting next to me on my hospital bed. He is stroking my hand and whispering, “Today I thought I was a bird granny. I moved through a doorway in the sky and my wings unfolded easily. I soared high through the clouds and over the mountains. I could see everyone and everything from up here. I was invincible granny.”
As the tears fell from my eyes, I felt my grandson’s freedom rise up in me and in his eyes, I saw all the missed opportunities play out like a movie
I feel regret.
Make space in your day to look up at the sky. Find the courage to move through the doorway. Unfold your wings easily and soar towards your true potential. Learn to feel and see as much as you can. Become invincible while there is time.