If you want a fascinating conversation, and if you’re ever around a bunch of people honest enough to have this sort of conversation, ask this question: If you could change just one decision you’ve made in your life to this point, what would you do differently?
If people are honest I promise it will be a moving and heartfelt discussion. It is the nature of being human that all of us, more often than we’ll admit, desperately wish we had a delete key, or re-do key. And we don’t. So it is our lot to live with the tension, and devise schemes to cope with our remorse.
There is the denial trick – we pretend it didn’t happen, or if it did, pretend it wasn’t nearly as big of a screw up as it seems.
There is the compensation trick – we find some way to make up for it.
There is blame trick – we ease the tension by blaming it on someone else.
Many other tricks, too, from over-working, to religion, to booze.
These strategies in theory medicate our discomfort over choices we’ve made that have brought us pain.
But when we look back with regret on our past choices how often do we think “Dang. I had a golden opportunity to make a big difference for the good, but passed it up”? If you are like me, hardly ever.
I am so Rick-o-centric that I only think about my past through the lens of what brought me pain. I hardly ever think about the way I missed opportunities to do good to others.
It would be good if I could grow to the point where I when I look at my past I regret missed opportunities to do good. And it would be even better if I grow to the point where I seize future opportunities to do good, as God brings them my way.