President Uchtdorf Speaks on Regrets and Resolutions

  • 06 October, 2012

“There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it. Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency

In an address titled “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke Saturday morning of how precious years on earth, in the eternal perspective barely amount to the blink of an eye.

The second counselor in the First Presidency said a nurse who cares for the terminally ill has often asked her patients if they have any regrets.

“As I considered what they had said, it struck me how the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ can affect our life's direction for good, if only we will apply them.”

He listed and discussed some of the patients' regrets:

I wish I had spent more time with the people I love.

He said men in particular regretted having spent so much time on work that they lost out on choice memories that come from spending time with family and friends.

He counseled members to look to the Savior's example of compassion and care as He purposefully lived each day.

“When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved,” he said. “He knew the infinite value of the people He encountered. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time.”

President Uchtdorf spoke how people, with the click of a mouse can “connect” with thousands of “friends” without facing a single one of them. “Technology can be a wonderful thing, and it is particularly useful when we cannot be near our loved ones.... However, I believe that we are not headed in the right direction, individually and as a society, when the most frequent way we connect with family or friends is by re-posting humorous pictures, forwarding trivial things, or linking them to sites on the Internet.... If we fail to give our best personal self and undivided time to those who are truly important to us, one day we will regret it.

”Let us resolve to cherish those we love by spending meaningful time with them, doing things together, and cultivating treasured memories.“

I wish I had lived up to my potential.

President Uchtdorf said that when the patients looked back on their lives, they realized that they never lived up to their potential, that ”too many songs remained unsung.”

“I am not speaking here of climbing the ladder of success in our various professions. That ladder, no matter how lofty it may appear on this earth, barely amounts to a single step in the great eternal journey awaiting us. Rather, I am speaking of becoming the person God, our Heavenly Father, intended us to be....

”Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life and to return to His presence.

“Why then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?”

It is through following the example of the Savior that individuals are able to incorporate His teachings to truly love God and their fellowman.

“We certainly cannot do it with a dragging-our-feet, staring-at-our-watch, complaining-as-we-go approach to discipleship,” he said. “When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming.” President Uchtdorf said, “Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self.”

I wish I had let myself be happier.

“So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness, a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial,” he said. “The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don't really matter or determine our happiness. We do matter. We determine our happiness. You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness.”

President Uchtdorf said that sometimes in life individuals become so focused on the finish line that they fail to find joy in the journey.

“No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it. Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts.”

President Uchtdorf said, “It is my testimony that many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today. If we have sinned or made mistakes — if we have made choices that we now regret, there is the precious gift of Christ's Atonement, through which we can be forgiven. We cannot go back in time and change the past, but we can repent. The Savior can wipe away our tears of regret and remove the burden of our sins. His Atonement allows us to leave the past behind and move forward with clean hands, a pure heart and a determination to do better and become better.”