“What’s your biggest regret?” he asked. No pried.
Okay, I thought, give him the benefit of the doubt, he’s just trying to keep it …. interesting?
I hummed and hawed and mumbled some “oh gees”, and “ahhh” as he moved from one foot to another with darting eyes. He chirped back, “we all have them,” as if it was as simple as rattling off a grocery list. My internal dialogue switched into high gear as my face tried to act the part of the-interested-girl-who-is-pleasant-enagaged-and-even-entertained, while my mind raced on how to divert and leave.
“Whatever happened to the boring what do you do” question I joked. I am equally as over that question, but employ it guiltily when needed.
The question shifted my balance and caught me off guard, but not only because it was socially awkward to inquire on the first conversation, but because that question had sprouted in my mind on its own before he asked.
So kind sir who is keeping his conversations fresh, here is what I would say to you if I knew you better, or maybe if we had talked more, or maybe not, but instead, I will put it out there like Kathleen Kelly and will throw it out to the dear cyber void.
I don’t know if I believe in regret. Or, I don’t know if I want to believe in it. I definitely believe in what it feels like. How it dims resolve and identity. How it chokes you momentarily then slinks over to your heart, resting for a second before exiting the body leaving its chills behind.
And then you have to look up and smile at your class, or ask the customer what you can do, or say hi to your friend and act like nothing just ran through you.
I don’t believe it, or the truth of it because don’t we just do the best we can in the moment? We rack our brains and hearts in relationships and say what we think is right, or honest, or in our weak moments what he/she needs to hear. We take the path and go to the school and find the job we think and believe is the right choice. But, we wonder. Boy do we wonder.
I think it only feels regretful because we know the story has been written. It is boxed, tied, and told. We must be careful not to rewrite the lines, dialogue, or ending and repackage it in our own heads because that’s not the way it is. Or even meant to be.
Your story is never quite over. The path may need new directions, a new road, or belief that the road continues, but lack of faith in regret can bring conviction in His guidance.
I try to believe and remember that divinity includes wrong paths, missed opportunities, and questions that culminate in a more seamless design than you could ever picture recreating your past or hoping for a certain future.
And that is what I would say to you, my friend about regret. And I say it to myself as well. Give it up and give it over.
How do you let regrets and questions go? How do you use our gospel and doctrine as a source of trust and faith on this issue?