By Alaa Suliman
A few weeks ago, a very dear local community leader announced that he is leaving the area and will be moving to another state. Not only was he someone who our community needed and benefited from, he was a mentor to me, a teacher and an incredible supporter. He was someone I looked up to and whose student I aspired to be.
Then this morning, right after I got ready to go to work, I did a quick Facebook check, only to find out that one of my cousins who lived abroad passed away. She had been fighting a deadly disease so courageously and God willed that it was her time to go. To God we belong and unto Him we will return.
These two incidents touched my heart deeply and got me thinking about the concept of regret.
Over the past few weeks, many events have left me feeling down, sad and helpless. They left me with that intense sense of remorse and regret. My mind wouldn’t stop thinking about all the “should haves” and “should not haves”. I should have attended all of my teacher’s classes; I should have asked him more questions; I should have been a better student. I also kept thinking that I should not have been so distant from my cousin. I should have been around when she was sick. I should be a better daughter, a better cousin, a better friend. The list is endless.
I should have done this, and I shouldn’t have done that.
How many of us have planned to do something for so long and never got to it until it was too late? How many of us claim that we want to spend more time with our parents, children or friends, and then they move or pass away. How many say they want to do this or that until they are physically or financially unable to? How many of us take everything we have for granted although NOTHING in life is guaranteed. We all do this ALL the time.
Beloved sisters and brothers, I would like to remind us all to never take ANYTHING or ANYONE for granted. Not your parents, not your family, not your job, not your health, not your community, and MOST importantly, not your LIFE! We only live once and nobody ever has lived twice (as far as I know!). Your life and the people in it are just too valuable to not be invested in.
There’s a Chinese saying that goes something like: “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” Spend time with your family NOW, have a healthy lifestyle NOW (not tomorrow and NOT this coming Monday), live the life you want NOW, do what you love NOW, volunteer for your community and those who are in need NOW. Do not wait because tomorrow might never come. Regret will be the only thing left.
And yesterday is too late.
Wa akhiru da`wana an-alhamdalillahi rabbil `alameen. (And the last of our prayers is praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds.)