“These things I regret about my life”


Another motto I live by and say often (but didn’t include in the post a few days ago) is: your past is a point of reference, not a point of residence. Regrets are tricky to discuss, particularly when the point of the question deMello gives is to pinpoint various regrets we have in our life. A part of the gospel of redemption is leaving our past at the cross because we are a new creation in Christ. The old is gone and the new is come. On the other hand, we remember our chains because it is a reminder from where we were rescued and redeemed. 

Instead of pinpointing specifics, I do have a few generalized regrets about my life. 

I regret every friendship or relationship I lost or let atrophy. Along the way, I have purposefully said goodbye to some relationships that meant a lot to me. Only a few of those were my choice to leave and sever. I regret each of them. Our relationships and friendships are always worth resuscitating and keeping. If they are abusive or inappropriate of course, I am not speaking to those, but those are not friendships or relationships; those are abusive situations, which never should have been the case.

I am speaking about friendships I cut off with a purpose. I may not regret the purposes or even the decisions in the moments. I have never ended a relationship with ease or flippancy, though it may have felt that way to the other person. My relationships and friendships mean a great deal with me. I take none of them lightly. I regret saying goodbye on purpose to some significant relationships in my life.

I regret allowing other good friendships atrophy over time and distance. It is still possible to maintain communication and connection in a social media generation. No, it is not face to face intimacy, but connection is still possible at some level if I just gave some effort. If we were once very close, but now we are pretty disconnected, I likely think of you often but don’t express it to you. I regret those lost relationships. 

I also regret every angry moment I have ever had. I am not an angry person. In fact, I am so even keeled, I error on the side of shutting down in most cases. It is rare that I am angry with anyone. I get frustrated, irritated, and flustered, but it is rare that I get angry. Becoming a parent has shown me the very think layer under which lies the anger I’ve always kept well-contained. My children have the strangest gift for lifting that layer with ease. How!?

I have walked through many situations in my life where anger would have been the expected response, and I maintain a patience that I cannot explain. Yet, my children whom I love more than nearly everyone have the capacity to anger me in as equally surprising fashions.

Every moment I have been angry at my children is a regret I have. Every moment I have been angry with another person is a regret. I trust Jesus’ equating anger with murder in the heart, because I know my anger kills the heart of those I love. I know and feel the weight of my anger. Every moment of anger in my life I deeply regret. 

Also, I regret:
- seeing almost every sequel of great movies
- getting student loans
- ever drinking bad coffee, beer, or whiskey
- telling my wife (only a few days after moving to California), “It never gets cold in California.” Because now (13 blood thinning years later) every time I say something about it being chilly or that I need some long-sleeves, she is still quick to say, “That’s impossible, because it never gets cold in California.”