We are born. We live our lives in the way we have chosen. In the end, we will wither pass away and die. Much to our own regrets, we have to live with them and take them with us to our graves. That which we regret may or may not die along with us. We shall never know if they did until it comes time for our final judgment. All of our deeds or misdeeds that helped define our lifetime will be rewound in front us like an old reel to reel movie. There will be pauses to highlight some of our low points. For those, we have hurt or the potentially catastrophic aftermath of our actions there lays the ruins we made. Our regrets may not be ones that we have to regret. Yet we do.
In just about every town there is a place where our physical remains are taken whereafter we shall return to the earth. These are the green golf courses for all those who once existed but now are dead. Row after row sitting side by side or standing alone is the great marble tombstones and headstones that the words that tell all who pass by who we were will eternally stand tall. There were regrets they had that may have led some to take away their own lives. No longer could these lives live in existence.
Much to our own regrets, YOU allowed an embryo to be mercilessly ripped out from your womb. With simple injections of lethal drugs, instruments forged of steel that were placed in the hands of butchers who misguidedly thought they were given the right perhaps by divine decree to take away a life did so without the slightest show of emotion. What lacked shape or form was still life that was created under circumstances we never will know but had a right to be born. Much to our regrets, YOU HAVE NO REGRETS! Of if you do or did it is too late for virtually any good you try to do to mean much of anything.
If only you had taken time to think or rationalize before you thrust yourself into action perhaps you would not be sitting here all alone in your favorite chair regretting even the day you born into this world. Had I (you or we) more time I could have……. We (you, I) wish there was something more than we could have done to …….. If only I (you or we) had known we could have or would have….. We regret all that is regrettable. “The hours that were yours, echo like empty rooms. The thoughts we used to share, I now keep alone. I woke last night and spoke to you, not thinking you were gone. It felt so strange to lie awake, alone. No regrets, no tears goodbye. Don’t want you back, we’d only cry, again. Say goodbye, again.” No Regrets-Tom Rush
Buried deep within our memory are those truths we must never forget. “And honey, I miss you and I’m bein’ good. And I’d love to be with you if only I could.” Honey-Bobby Goldsboro. “Now that I’ve taken my life, hiding the dampenings. Scouring the stubborn stains erasing them carefully. Breaking the dreams of life and interring them pray fully. My telephone never stops ringing now that I’ve taken my life. Now that I’ve taken my life, pleading reality. Mumbling moralities, and losing the child I was. Smiling my youth to the wall and recalling how wild I was.” Now That I’ve Taken My Life-Tom Paxton. “Oh, baby it’s a wild world. It’s hard to get by just upon a smile. Oh, baby, it’s a wild world. I’ll always remember you like a child, girl. You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do. And it’s breaking my heart in two. ‘Cause I never want to see you, sad girl. Don’t be a bad girl. But if you want to leave take good care. Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there. But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware. Beware” Wild World-Cat Stevens.
As for me the regrets that I feel from the mistakes I made take me prisoner and lock me up inside. What can I say to those I never knew suffered because of me. It is much too late to try to turn around again. I am the ghost of me I see in the mirror. If only there was a way for me to help me help you heal. My suffering will never be small. My insatiable thirst for things that would ultimately lead me astray sent you scrambling away never to return. The words you hated to hear slithered off my tongue with alarming regularity. Once what was said was said it can never be taken back. Lost are the feelings you once felt for me and I for you. No wild white horses will be pulling my chariot tonight.
Much to our own regret, there is no lack of depth for death. It knows no limits as it has no boundaries or borders that can hold it down. Our transparency was so fashionably obvious but regrettably, we did not care. That was until one of us or something inside of us died. Only now in this advanced hour of our lives do we stop to realize we were all so untrue to ourselves. We became cloaked inside of the pretend reality that we created. When we have died nothing at all will have remained. An unheeded call added arrogance to our ignorance. Much to our own regret, we must now own up to that as we open the door to allow for our closure.
Who among us can offer up a credible defense? We plucked excuses from the thin air and stuffed these “treasures” into our pockets until the time came for us to need them. Now we know we need them but they cannot do for us what we thought they could. The knowledge that these phrases had no air under them was something under no pretenses did we dare to admit to. We drove through the streets of our time with reckless abandon. Yes, we were firey furnaces with no flame. All that remains from the names, places, things are the ashes of regret.
In the quiet of the dead of night, we hear the shrieks from the roars of deafening silence. Much not to our own regrets we are no longer encompassed in ecstasy. We regret our pathetic panderings for our reconstruction. It’s all over now except for the end.
Loved this Joel. So many questions I would ask myself then if today were turned around. Sometimes wisdom is gained in the darkest places.
Thank you, Johnny. We wake up on many days with different questions that we will answer one way today but years back our responses would be completely different. Wisdom can come to us from almost any place or any experience. There I times I think I am so much wiser than I was only to look at certain situations to realize I am not all that wise. A comment like yours coming from somebody like you who undoubtedly has so much wisdom holds a lot of meaning for me.
Joel – I sensed great sadness in this touching article. But, may I present a different point of view. Like all who live, I can point to things in my past that break my heart because of hurts I have caused, opportunities I have let slip by, or loved ones I wish I had one more day to see. But, what I have come to learn is that I can only be the person I am today because of each experience of the past. The past, good and bad, helped mold me and shape me because I have learned to build on the positive realities and to grow from the negative actions. So, each day is a gift that allows me to make amends for my mistakes by becoming a better person and helping those I love find this same truth for their life. That way, when I do breath my last, I live on in the lives I effected while I was here. So, my life is a journey of discovery that leads me to be the best person I can be and leaving my love behind in the hearts of every person I come in contact with. Peace my friend.
Len, Let me first thank you for taking the time to read my article. Without a doubt, there have been experiences in the past that allowed me to learn and grow. Entering into a relationship with my wife who had three Elementary School age children at the time plus being in the middle of a nasty divorce/custody fight was a challenge I could not have envisioned. So much good came from that but it took a very hefty toll on me. Yet despite that, there are many regrets about many other things I did that have impacted my present. There are people whose lives have inspired me. There are the lives of people who have been inspired by me or my actions. Every morning before my feet touch the floor I recite a prayer that is on the wall opposite the bed which basically thanks G-d for giving me another day. The goal is to do something better. In short, I love your philosophy which is not all that removed from mine. My article dealt with regrets which is not a happy theme. Thank you again, Len!
Joel – I am so glad you and I embrace the same philosophy that each day is a gift because it brings joy and inspiration to our lives. –
Each new day is indeed a gift. Some days there will not be any joy as in its place is great sorrow. There will be days of great inspiration as well as other days where there is no inspiration to be found. We have to strive to be the best person we can be. Our actions reflect on our upbringing. I would never want to do anything that would bring dishonor to their memory.
Joel – The uncertainty of each day is what makes opening our eyes each morning such an amazing joy. Right now, my wife is facing several serious health problems. But I find I truly am blessed that I have the honor of supporting her, comforting her, and loving her in a way that she knows, without a doubt, she will never face any trial alone. Do I have unspoken fear – yes – but I can use that to help her overcome her fear. The regrets of the past cannot stifle the opportunity the future. And when we embrace this attitude, like you said, we honor those who invested their love and guidance in us.
I am thankful for each new day that G-d gives me. Regrets in some cases may stifle your future depending on their nature. None of us knows what the future will bring. Learning from your past or present mistakes is a key component to growth. However, just because you have learned from your mistakes and regret having made them offer no guarantee that you will not repeat them or if they will or will not impact your future which as I said none of us can predict the future or even have a clue as to what it might hold. In my faith, we believe whatever happens be it bad or good was the will of G-d as nothing happens without it being his will. The support you are giving to your wife is the right and honorable thing to do. I sincerely hope your wife makes a speedy and complete recovery. In the days leading up to my mothers passing and even prior to that we always tried to support her. She had so much to overcome with the passing of oldest daughter (not by natural causes) and her husband
Thanks, Joel, for your well wishes. I have enjoyed this inspired engagement.
I have as well but my computer clearly is not. My sister was the victim of a brutal murder at the hands of our next door neighbors son. My mother did not physically pass away on that day but her life was clearly taken from her. When my father passed away my younger sister and I knew the countdown had started for her passing which occurred three years ago at the age of 90 from a stroke. She had long since given up on life. As much as she loved her grandchildren that was not enough to keep her going.
I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you and your family experienced. Sometimes we are forced to face unspeakable horrors. Like you, I can’t begin to understand why. Just know that as your friend, my heart tells me that if we were talking face to face, I should just hold you so the you know I truly care. That is what I offer – my friendship.
Thank you so much, Len.
Len, I owe you an apology as I am only now seeing this comment. It is always a pleasure to engage with somebody like whom I have so much respect for.
Hi Joel and Larry – Andre here. I felt a deep sadness as I read your words, Joel, and I imagine that, like many who have dared to look back into the dark recesses of their lives, I know pretty well the regrets you experience. The moral background is clear enough, and the fact that you allude to a time of judgment suggests a spiritual aspect, which is inevitable sooner or later for all people. As G K Chesterton once pointed out, if anything in the realm of religion has empirical proof, it is original sin as laid before us in the Book of Genesis. And,of course, it is our sins that are the cause of all the suffering we bring to others and ourselves. But the love of God is unconquerable, and his great gift of salvation, brought to us in Jesus Christ, is always available to us; we simply have to accept that grace in repentance and humility, finally silencing the ego that has been the source of our pain. Then we can move on to live our lives in faith, hope, and love. God bless you!
Thank you, Andre, for reading in addition to providing your comments on my article. I am happy to read you are or seem to be a religious man. Although we are of different faiths and the beliefs we hold to are different I have a deeply-rooted respect for truly religious people. It was a pleasure to receive your comments. The regrets I was alluding to in my article were not just my own but the regret people feel at some point in their lives.
Joel I absolutely love this. I too have decisions I made in my early days that always haunt me. I wish I would have had more time with my children and the dark days of playing music on the road. Yet here we are two old friends sharing our stories and hope to help people not make those mistakes. My dear friend be well.
Larry, The one question I ask myself that if I had the chance to do everything over again what would I do while wondering where I would have been. I never played music (I have a beautiful acoustic guitar that was given to me as a gift but I never had the funds to take lessons to learn how to play it) but like you I did not always give my son (or my stepchildren) the time I should have given them. Work consumed so much of my time. I am sad to say our mistakes are being repeated by others. If my article causes people to stop, look at their lives now and make some changes for the good of their family or life in general then I will have succeeded beyond what I could ever hope for. Be well Larry and stay well. We need more Larry Tyler’s in this world.