Do you have any regrets in your life? I sure don’t. Read on…
I’ve made lots of mistakes, had failures, had successes, made good decisions, made bad decisions. I’ve upset close friends. Then I’ve cried with them. And cried over them. I’ve not slept because of worry. I’ve regretted things I’ve said, done, and everything in-between. But… I’ve learned from every single one of those victories or struggles. Truth.
This past week was another hard one. In the past nine months, I’ve experienced an unbelievable amount of tragedy in friends of mine – and some have been and are very close friends, almost like family. In the past nine months, I’ve had five friends pass away. Now, this post is not about that, but about this past week.
On Sunday morning, a friend of mine, Matt Nagel (@matthewnagel), was running and suffered a stroke. Within hours, he was having surgery, and then the news became more grim. We prayed, we canvassed the concern on Social Media, more and more people prayed and reached out and attended prayer vigils and going to the hospital. It seems like every time I logged onto Facebook, there was a new post from my friends about my buddy Matt and what was going on with him medically. I was overwhelmed with many of your well-wishes, emails, texts and posts on Twitter and Facebook. His Caring Bridge website, to date, has gotten over 54,000 hits. All in five days. Matt passed away and went to be home with the Lord on Tuesday late night. He is survived by his amazing wife Molly (who I have known since she was in high school) and his daughter Harper. Those two are amazing.
When I arrived at the memorial service at my old church, Heartland Community Church (@hccks), I sat with my buddy Doug Weinbrenner (@dougweinbrenner). He said, “You realize that Matt’s dad will be speaking today…” And, I said, “Are you kidding me? He just lost his 35 year old son and he is going to get up in front of a thousand people and talk? Wow.”
I met Matt’s dad many years ago at his then-annual Fourth of July party. He was such an amazing host to so many folks he did not know. Brian and Vicki Nagel opened their home to this party – there were so many people running around that it was really awesome to meet them and interact with them. So, when I saw Brian walk up on stage, I was reminded of his amazing personality and ability to effectively communicate.
He said a lot of amazing things about his family, Matt, Matt’s faith in Jesus, his daughter-in-law, his granddaughter – which were all mesmerizing to me. Then he asked everyone if they had heard the song, “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. I sure had, when I was growing up, but then again in my high school Young Life club back when I was a sophomore at Blue Valley High School. It’s a song that has resonated with me since then. In fact, as I type this blog entry, it’s on in the background. (I was going to play the Ugly Kid Joe version, but that would be blasphemy, haha!)
Brian Nagel, having just lost his son several days prior, reads aloud the first part of the song:
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then
Then he says, to over 1,000 people: I have no regrets about my relationship with my son. He knew I was proud of him. He knew I loved him. I told him that all the time. And, I know that Matt had no regrets in his relationship with Molly. And with Harper.
I lost it. Tears began to roll down my face. Brian Nagel just told everyone there that he had NO REGRETS.
I thought about it. What he wanted everyone in that crowd to think of was, “Do you have any regrets?” ”Have you told your kids you loved them lately?” ”Have you told your parents you loved them lately?” ”Have you told your friends how much you care for them lately?”
So, the question for you is, Do you have any regrets? In your life? In your relationships? In your business? In your ____________ ?
I am grateful for the things in life that prune me. Last night I was talking to my friend Scott in Lawrence about life – Scott has a background in landscaping as well as myself. I said, “Scott, what happens when you prune a flowering tree or shrub before it blooms?” – Scott looked at me and said, “It flowers more, Jason” … He is right. And when we are pruned in life, whether it be by loss, by failure, by mistakes, by being stupid, then, when that happens, our life will be more full, more flowering, and more expansive. I know that is true in my life. Is it true in yours?
PS – I find the irony in this post written on Good Friday. Happy Easter, friends.
If you’d like to know how to memorialize Matt, or support Molly or Harper, see below.
Heartfelt thanks to all who came to the memorial yesterday and to those who were there in spirit. For those who asked, donations in Honor of Matt Nagel can be made to:The Hope Center2800 East Linwood BlvdKansas City, Mo. 64128OrMatthew R. Nagel Memorial FundChecks payable to Molly NagelSend to:Heartland Community Church
12175 South Strang Line Road
Olathe, KS 66062