A Few Things I’ll Never Regret
We all have those inglorious moments when we wish we could travel back in time and have a “redo.” But as most of us have learned the hard way, there is no reset. In the words of the singer Anna Nalick, “‘…you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable. And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table. No one can find the rewind button, girl.” Yep. You make your choices and you learn to live with them.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Quite the contrary. Sometimes we make the right choice and we end up loving it the rest of our lives. So, I decided today that rather than focus on my regrets, I would concentrate on a few things that I will never regret.
1. Getting married. For those of you who don’t know, Shelly is my wife. We recently celebrated 23 years of marriage. Now, I know that marriage is an emotional subject for many people. And I understand that not everyone has been as fortunate as me. But I’m not going to apologize for my good fortune. Marrying Shelly was the best thing I ever did. Yes, there have been some difficult seasons. Yes, we have had to put in a lot of work over the years. But I don’t regret one minute of it. I love that woman. Always have. Always will. And I am eagerly looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her.
2. Being a father. I have 3 children. They range in age from 22 to 15 to 10. The two oldest are girls and the youngest is a boy. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I absolutely love them. Sure, there have been those days when my fatherly love has been pushed to the very breaking point. I have cried. I have screamed. I have thrown my hands up in surrender. But I wouldn’t trade one single moment of any of it. Sorry but I don’t regret becoming a father for even one single minute.
3. Trusting God. Over the years my family has lived in Georgia, Argentina, Minneapolis, Miami, and in the end we found ourselves back in Georgia. At each point along that journey we moved based on what we perceived to be God’s leading. At times it was difficult. At times it was costly, demanding a level of sacrifice beyond anything we initially imagined. Along the way we have been both misunderstood and criticized. Serving as a missionary/pastor was undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve done to date. But I don’t regret it. I count it a blessing and a privilege to have served God in such a manner. And if you really want to know the truth, I have been hoping and praying for years that He calls us back to the lifestyle again one day.
4.Chasing my dreams. I recently returned to college at the age of 44. I work full-time. I go to school full-time. Between the two I have little time for much of anything. I work and I study. That’s it. The past 2 years have kept me at a pace that has left me all but exhausted. I have stayed up late, worked myself to the point of exhaustion, and struggled to just keep my head above water. It’s been draining in every area. But I count myself fortunate. I consider myself blessed. It’s been hard but I don’t have any regrets. It’s not every day that you get a second chance to finish chasing your dreams.
5. Taking risks. On the surface that might seem strange. But it’s not. I’ve always believed that the only real regret in life is to look back and wonder “what might have been.” I’ve risked much throughout my life. Currently, I still am risking much. And once I get done with college I’ll probably embrace risk once again. Not because I believe risk is reward. Not at all. It’s just that I believe I would rather risk failure than choosing apathy and security. I’m about to turn 47 and I still believe I can change the world. And when the time comes again, I’ll make that same choice. No regrets. Over the years God has proven Himself faithful in my life. He has always worked all things together for the good and I have no reason to expect any less moving forward. That doesn’t mean I’m reckless. It just means that I trust Him enough to take risks.
Getting married… being a father…trusting God… chasing my dreams… and taking risks. You know, it’s kind of funny. If you know me at all, you realize that list describes me perfectly. Those also happen to be the most important priorities in my life. For years I’ve heard about people being defined by their regrets. Hmmm… maybe we should rethink that philosophy. Speaking for myself, it looks like I’m actually defined by the things I “don’t” regret. What about you?