Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lesson #9 - Regret and Other Things I Get For Christmas

     You have failed... Yes, you there, sucking down your soda and ignoring the television while lounging every so cozily on your sofa. YOU were supposed to keep me honest and accountable. But I supposed we both failed each other so I will not squawl too loudly...
     This week has been a flurry of change, some welcome, some not. I HAVE kept up with my challenge to myself. Acts of sacrifice and service, after awhile become harder to come by because after practicing them for awhile, you realize you don't become aware of the attitude of service and sacrifice. Not to say that I couldn't be more polite, giving, caring or aware; in fact it could be amplified for the greater good. But what I am finding as I am working my way through this mixture of depression, I suppose, and disillusionment (I am certain!) is that there truly is a cure for the ailments that we create for ourselves and then inevitably blame on others.
     One thing that has been chewing at the back of my brain all week is the one thing, however, that there is no cure for, and I am learning that even joy cannot overtake the pain that comes with this ailment; that ailment is regret. There is nothing that can be done about regret.
     It is around this time of year that I start to get lonely for people who are no longer in my life because of circumstance. This is the poultice that we use to draw regret to the surface of our hearts: circumstance. If I had only done, if I had only said, if I had only been... There is nothing more lonely, more useless and more determined than regret, especially when the regret is based on something you didn't do when you should have. And it is regret that pushes us beyond what we allow joy to heal
   I have regrets, big ones. I went through a phase not too long ago where I believed that my failure to act when I should have might actually have thwarted the will of God for my life. I believed that the lack of courage of others, that their fear, might have thwarted the will of God for my life.
   I am such a freshman when it comes to the scholarly understanding of God. Like the human beings in my life, I desperately try to put Him in a category. I try to make Him like me. I only see life as it ripples out from me; truth be told that is how we all see it. And we spend so much time concentrating on our little drop in the ocean, we don't realize that it is the ripples that are moving away from our little drop in the ocean. Nothing happens that is not under His control, ordained by His hand, orchestrated in His heart.
     My regret is hypocrisy. The sadness that I feel belongs to no one but me. It is not God's and to allow it to the be thing that I use to separate myself from Him is almost pathetic as the regret in the first place. This last week has been spent in this kind of wondrous introspection; it has not been fun, but it has been productive.
    The yearning for "what might have been" that comes around this time of year can be excruciating. It is the longing for freedoms, friends and still-unraveling possibilities that came with Christmases long ago that is diminishing the joy of the Christmas of now.
     I can't fix it because to fix it, I would have to go back in time and change my own choices and actions. Both of those things are impossible - time travel doesn't exist and even if I could go back, I would still be me and being me, I would definitely make the same choices or, more than likely, still be afflicted with the same indecisiveness. No. Cure.
     I don't know how to overcome the regret. At the time, the act that I regret now was a willful act of action or inaction - God is not in the business of condoning acts of my will or helping me recover from them. I don't know what your regrets are or how they figure in to the holidays or this time of year, but after this week, I am almost positive that acts of service and sacrifice that lead to the development of a life that is focused around service and sacrifice have to be a huge part of it.

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