Regret is the ghost of aging. It prods me to look back and to question everything I have done. It awakens the “life of should” – I should have…
Regret nibbles around the edges of the mind and we feel weary, listless and with no desire to do anything.
It is not only the past that disappoints us when regret gets a foothold. The brooding slips over into the present. It sours the immediate, the here-and-now.
The thought of what could have been eats at the center of the heart and dampens the glow of what we did do.
Regret is not insight; it fails to recognize that there are many ways to the fullness of life. Regret is a temptation.
It entices us to hunger for what never was in the past rather than bring new energy to the present. The antidote to regret is forgiveness.
Oliver Wendell Holmes: “The young know the rules, the old know the exceptions.” There is a softening of heart that comes with age. We come to know that no one is perfect, and no one can be. We learn that life is a series of exceptions to be reckoned with.
We come to know ourselves from awareness of our own failings as well as successes, our virtue and our sin and our deep need for mercy.
Tennyson: Two aged men, who had been foes in life, met by a grave and wept – and in those tears, they washed away the memory of their strife. Then wept again the loss of those years.”
Forgiveness is the therapy of old age that wipes the slate clean. Forgiveness is more important to the one who forgives than the one who is forgiven. Forgiveness puts life back together again.
Life does not have to be perfect to be perfect; it only needs to be forgiving and forgiven.
Fr. Steve Adrian