The speaker at a recent graduation ceremony spoke of an event in his life that he would never forget.
He described how he had seen a previous work colleague from the back after a conference that they had both attended – he wanted to go up to her, perhaps have a coffee to catch-up after not having met up for so long. But he got diverted and did not make the special effort to chase after her.
Shortly after, he learnt she had just passed away, leaving behind her husband and young child. A flood of regret washed over him.
Could he have offered her an encouraging word if he had made the effort to catch up with her when he saw her?
Life, he surmised, has to be taken at its opportunity.
An opportunity not pursued, an opportunity not created, is an opportunity wasted, and only leaves behind the residue of regret.
So many times, especially at funerals, we hear people speak of their greatest regret being not spending enough time – more time – with the person who had just passed on, time when that word of encouragement, that word of love and understanding, that word of care and concern, or simply the silent presence, could have meant so much.
We need to live our moments of opportunities, and recall what Stephen Grellet, an American Quaker missionary, had once said:
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Leadership is taking the moments and giving them purpose.
Honour is taking the moments and giving them extra meaning.