Sunday, January 27, 2013

27, Regret #JanBlogaDay

Regrets... not an easy topic. I feel like there's quite a bit I could throw into this category, but at the same time, I'm not interested in devolving into a pity party or making things sound dire, because they aren't.

Plus, what is regret? I decided simply being sad or disappointed wasn't enough. I looked it up and a "sense of loss" is also a potential regret. But what of a sense of loss that I played no part in?

Thinking of a Space Shuttle disintegrating or a terrorists flying a plane into a building or a miscarriage. No, not sure that's it, either. And what of something that's fixable? Is it a regret if it's something that could go away tomorrow? I'm not so sure.

Not saying goodbye to someone before they committed suicide? Maybe. Or maybe that's on them for not letting me know that they were going to do it and having to learn about it after the fact and read about the plan they had put together to accomplish it. No, that's on them.

That we didn't have a third child? I think that more likely I'd regret it if we did since the life we have now is overwhelming enough as it is.

So, I guess I would need to frame "regret" as something that has already occurred (or not occurred), impacted me directly, and due to my own action or inaction, something that's too late to change.

That makes it a little easier to think about what a regret might be, it narrows things greatly, but it also makes it harder. I mean, I have made the choices I have made, and I'm pretty pleased with my life. There are certainly things I would change about my circumstances were I able, but most of those feel temporary, or at least out of my control and therefore not something I can dwell upon or regret because they are still occurring and so there is the potential for them to come to an end.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that a regret for me is where I wish I could have a "do over" on something I did (and wished I'd not done or done differently) or something I didn't do (and wish I had acted in some manner).

So with that definition and a several hour gap before I wrote the last part and picked it up again here, I've got two.

The first took place in first grade. We were spinning each other around by holding hands, leaning back and then just spinning. After awhile we'd let go, stumble away and do it again. A developmentally-delayed girl in our class wanted to do it, so I grabbed her hands and started spinning. I don't think she was comprehending that she'd end up getting dizzy because she ended up on the ground sitting on her rear, glasses askew, crying. Teachers were on the scene quickly and it was never suggested I had done anything wrong, but I just still remember that scene in my head and feel bad about it. (I left out one more detail because it would be embarrassing to her and yes, I do still remember her name.)

Do over: I wish I hadn't let her in on our little game. She might have been hurt for a few minutes, but in hindsight, that was much worse, something that looked fun ending up being painful for her. She probably got teased and bullied enough as it was over the years, I'd have seemed to have been part of it even if it was completely unintentional.

A few years later, I was in Cub Scouts. One of the horrible things they make you do in Cub Scouts is go door-to-door selling tickets to the annual Jamboree which is like a fair of scouts stuff in some dusty field in the dead of summer. So it's summer when you're selling the tickets and you're in your Cub Scout uniform which is navy blue when you're out selling the tickets (while your non-Scout friends are out playing) and so you're really hot. And most people don't want to buy tickets to the Jamboree anyhow. So I go to this one house and this guy's laying out stuff on his driveway, some kind of leaves. So I have to walk around them on his grass to approach him up by his garage to give him the prepared speech they make us say and he cuts me off and indicates he's not interested. (I later wondered if maybe he didn't speak English.) Frustrated, I intentionally walked on some of the stuff on his driveway leaving his property. I don't know if it was food or floral but I've prayed over the years that I didn't make anyone sick. Of course, if it was food, it would probably need to be washed after being placed on a driveway, but no matter what, that was a rotten thing for me to do.

Do over: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. I did not uphold the Scout law that day.

There are others, some of which to mention might be more embarrassing but certainly far less significant.

There is one thing that's ongoing that I would classify as a regret - my unwillingness to take more risks. This mostly applies to the working world because that's where the biggest opportunity for risk is. I don't think moving to Seattle without a job was a risk because it was clear that's what God was leading us to do. I don't going for the Mobile Director position was a risk because I was sure it was mine. But then failing to get it has made me less interested in making big leaps. I'm at a bit of a crossroads at the moment but the risk feels too daunting and I regret that feeling because it feels like I feel it all too often.

Day 27 of January Blog a Day.

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