I (Paul) get into my really grumpy old man mode when folks say they have no regrets, as either everything worked out ok in the end or there is no point having regrets as this shows they may have made mistakes, as though this shows weakness.
As you can tell by my tone, I fundamentally disagree with these mentalities on life. The reflections on my own life is that I have made mistakes and I regret these happening. My logic is that I am bound to make mistakes, say or do the wrong thing, not do or say anything, I might be tired, irritated, frustrated, or it is clearly unintentional. If I upset someone and they have a valid, point, I expect I will regret doing or not doing it. It might be I don’t make the most of an opportunity, I might have not had enough boldness, courage, conviction etc, and as I look back on my day/week/life, I may regret that.
Watching one of our current favourite tv programmes, Smash (about a musical based on Marilyn Monroe) one of the characters quotes Arthur Miller:
Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
How might this apply? How does one have right regrets? I wonder if it is about motives and intention? Did I try and do or say the right or good thing for the right reasons and it did not quite come off? That sounds like a right regret. Might I have stepped out in faith and got a little over extended? Sometimes my enthusiasm runs away with me, I start too many things at once, put a little too much pressure on those around me. These kind of circumstances I can see could lead to right regrets. I am aware being 55 this year I only have so many years of primary energy and I want to make the most of these, so I get a bit carried away with opportunities to see the Kingdom of God come. I am sure I can then get distracted from being focused on the important rather than the nice or urgent.
These motives I can see could lead to right regrets, I hope this does not give me licence to be liberal in harming others, myself or grieving God, but I do not want to live such a safe life, that there are no risks. I just hope I have the humility to apologise when I have a wrong or right regret. When I asked Sally about her regrets her first response was not going to the FA Cup reply in 1981 because the church she was at would be so disapproving of missing a house group!
What are your right regrets?