What is my biggest regret in life?
This is such a hard question to answer! There are many things I regret, but I think the biggest one is not talking to my best friend Cindy before she passed away. We met my freshmen year in college (her sophomore year) and became instead friends in Poli Sci 101. After college we kept up our friendship. We called each other every week and visited each other in every state we lived in. (Illinois for me, South Carolina & Mississippi for her) When she got married, I was her maid of honor.
She died 6 years ago, when we were 34 of a heart condition no one knew she had. I can't remember now why I hadn't spoken to her in 2 weeks, but it was one of the longest stretches we had ever gone without talking. I remember calling her, and leaving her a teasing message about going to a sports bar to watch Ohio State play Florida for the national championship game with her husband. It turns out she was in the hospital . She had two seizures out of the blue, and when they ran an MRI on her to find out why, it was too much and she passed.
The whole thing is still like a bad dream, and I miss our visits and phone calls. She was one of those rare people who I could tell anything to and not be judged. I know she is in a better place, but I really wish I hadn't let life get in the way that week.
The following story is adapted from "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977). Cindy would share this story with her residence staff in William Carey's annual recognition dinner.
Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out, "Good morning, what are you doing?"
The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You cant possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference to that one."
There is something very special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our stars wisely and well, the world will be blessed.