There are chapters of my life that I would rather I’d read instead of living the movie.
I don’t necessarily regret them. There are lessons that come from even the most difficult situation which give value and benefit that staves off frustration and even further, hopelessness. There is a great power in believing we are made with a plan and a purpose, that our story is written by an author who cares for us and who has designed the plot.
There is nothing in my life that if offered the chance I would strike from the record, but there are a number of moments that if offered the chance to go back, read the transcript and have someone ask me “Get it?” at the end, well that I would jump for.
Now, see, I don’t buy into the “No regrets” philosophy. It seems to me that if you walk your life with no regrets then you haven’t taken any risks worth taking or you have shut off your empathy to the impact you have on those around you. I am not so committed to the bigger picture that I don’t consider the brushstroke and I’m not afraid to be willing to label things as mistakes.
The other night Kermit sat at the end of the bed and said “There was a reason you were where you were” talking about two different times in my life. I looked back and said “There’s a reason I am where I am now, too.” Right now, sitting at home, cooking, sort of cleaning, volunteering, and seeking growth. There is no denying that in the past few months I have seen healing and growth, learned to see others with kindness and compassion, even more, just learning to see others. I have repaired my relationship with my kids which was struggling as I tried to balance an incredibly stressful work situation with not enough left at the end of the day to offer them. I have been able to see my husband as a caretaker and provider in a new way. I have been available to do all the things I wished I could do in the past years, but was too burnt out to get my hands in, so crispy that if I’d tried to pick anything else up, my fingers would have broken off, the edges of toast on the table, pasted together with butter.
There has been so much good for me lately that I could easily examine the time of trial as just a step in reaching this and therefore worth it all. But if I could reach this moment and have just read the book, even a deep involving read that sucks you into the world as if you were there and can taste the butterbeer and hear the mockingjay, I would in a heartbeat.
I often wonder about tactile learners, they hear it, they see it, but it doesn’t click until they experience it. How does one travel through school with that learning style when the first two are the more commonly used methods? I always imagined myself to be an auditory or visual, certainly not much of a kinesthetic learner, but probably one who reads or listens to information and understands it.
Now I wonder if perhaps all this time I’ve been tactile all this time. I do fancy myself wise enough, discerning enough to hear a warning, “Don’t touch. It’s hot.” and then follow that direction (Although, my husband can tell you of a time he said those exact words to me and I reached my hand out and said “This burner?” then stuck my hand directly on the metal and received quite the blistering answer. Just the once, though.) I consider myself able to comprehend a passage and carry on an in depth conversation, tearing apart the material for all the meat that it holds.
But if I review my reading in my head, review my listening, there rides along side the experiential. I walk through worlds with characters, sitting in the corner of their rooms, observing and experiencing what they are going through. Words come through my ears, but impact my eyes, leaving images as solid as the coffee cup I always have in my hand. It becomes clearer to me that I will be the person who so keenly feels experiences and responds to them, I will continue to be taught this way. The tactile is so pervasive in my person that it invades the auditory and the visual. I could argue that this is reason enough that life should deliver me a book where I can sit and read through and just trust that it will impact me as deeply. Regrettably, though, this isn’t how life works.
I am who I was made to be. There is a plan and a purpose for me. I appreciate that plan and purpose, but I admit that I can muck things up, ruin people’s days, impact my family and friends. I have regrets, things I wish I could change, but the mercy is that I know grace and forgiveness. Without regret, there is no humility. Without humility, no admission of guilt. Without admission, no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no healing. Through that process I am able to see the blessing of regret, to recognize it and its power in my life and to use it for good.
Regret is only a symptom of weakness if we view it that way. I choose to view it as a tool of power, a pen in my hand that allows me to write the next chapter, written in a way to preserve me from rereading the same story for the rest of my life.