Here is the sort of kid I was: When I was 12 years old my sisters and I were each given $15 to buy whatever we wanted at the bookstore. I distinctly remember debating between “Book of Virtues” and “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s all Small Stuff.") I decided on the Book of Virtues. One entry from that tome haunts me even today. It was entitled “The Sin of Omission” Here are the words I still have etched on my conscience,
“It isn’t the thing you do dear but the thing you leave undone
that gives you a bit of heartache at the setting of the sun.”
(Pardon any misquoting. I was 12 when I committed this to memory)
There is a great deal of truth in this, I do regret not taking opportunities to love, to laugh, to forgive. However, I also regret unwise and unkind things that I have said. And when I contemplate either type of regret I am bogged down by this millstone like weight around my heart. The weight of failure.
How do I accept the fact that I will mess up? It depresses me to think that no matter how hard I try, one day I will look back and see a slough of sins and silly mistakes. I believe that we only get one shot at this life and I resent the fact that I can’t get it right the first/only time. Ok, so maybe that is pride, I mean only Jesus got it right the first time. Still, I can’t shake that sense of feeling like I could be doing better, more, deeper things with each day I am given.
So what would I do differently? Trying harder doesn’t seem to help. I recently found a wish list from last year and of the many wishes that have come true (such as the birth of a healthy baby girl) none of them were borne of great effort on my part. Actually, giving birth is kind of a good example because it took every ounce of strength I had and more but it wasn’t like I had a choice... in the end it was totally outside of my control.
Is it a sin to regret things? I mean I know that we need to repent and let God change us when we sin but I wonder if we can truly regret anything. I mean, isn’t God ultimately in charge of everything? Did Joseph (from the Bible) regret bragging to his brothers about his dreams? If he hadn’t have done that they wouldn’t have thrown him in a well and sold him as a slave. But if they hadn’t have faked his death he couldn’t have saved their lives years later. It gets complicated.
What are your thoughts on regret?
How do we let go but still learn from our mistakes?