When a person prepares for death, he or she usually tallies their life’s victories and regrets. In that gripping moment, each of us takes an honest – even chilling – assessment of our lives. It’s just a natural thing for all of us to do.
Even Harry Houdini, the world’s most famous magician, did it.
On Saturday, October 30, 1926, Houdini was laying on his death bed in Detroit, Michigan, with his surgeon at his bedside. The famed magician and Dr. Kennedy talked about magic, spiritualism, and related topics while the physician monitored his patient’s recovery.
Showing considerable vulnerability at one point in the conversation, Houdini turned to Kennedy and confessed, “Doctor, you know, I always wanted to be a surgeon, but I never could. I have always regretted it.”
Kennedy was stunned. “Why, Mr. Houdini, that is one of the most amazing statements I have ever heard. Here you are, the greatest magician and the greatest entertainer of your age. You make countless thousands of people happy. You have an unlimited income and you are admired and respected by everybody, while I am just an ordinary dub of a surgeon trying to struggle through life.”
Houdini looked at Kennedy and smiled. “Perhaps those things are true, doctor, but the difference between me and you is that you actually do things for people. I, in almost every respect, am a fake.”
Houdini would have done well to heed the advice of Paul in Colossians 1:9 where the apostle prays that people would “live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way.”
A life worthy of the Lord is the only kind of life that avoids regret.
The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. Atria Books, 2006, Page 514.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)