Of Vain Regrets

Regret Quote
There is a grief that’s common to all and inescapable. The sense of loss, missing someone who’s gone on, regretting you won’t be able to turn to them anymore. No more phone chats, no more visits over coffee, no more celebrations or sharing memories.

And there’s a grief that wants to depress us. Everyone feels regret or remorse at times, that sense of having done wrong or missed opportunities that will now never be recaptured or enjoyed. But this kind of grieving can become chronic and swallow us whole.

Sometimes a person does need to ponder what they could/should have done different, to repent; and make amends where possible. At times we need to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong to do or say that.” It really pays to understand how we could do better the next time and make positive changes, be more respectful, develop a softer way of expression our opinions, etc.

The night we got home from my sister’s funeral I couldn’t sleep well, understandably, and felt so blue. Mine was a combination of both griefs: the sorrow of “she’s not there anymore” and regret for lost chances. Why didn’t I do more, call more, visit more…about the really important things of life? Why didn’t I say “I love you, I appreciate you”?

I felt the need to read something upbeat, and spotted an old Our Daily Bread devotional magazine lying in the bathroom. Someone had once given me a bunch and I pull a few out now and then for “bathroom reading.” Seeing it was the January 1978 issue, I turned to the Jan 1 page and read “THE FORWARD LOOK.”

Included was this poem — and it seemed just what I needed at that moment. Googling, I see this verse was published in the mid-1800s and lists M.H.W. as the author.

The past is o’er;
waste not thy days in vain regret,
grieve thou no more.
Look now before
and not behind thee; do not fret,
the past is o’er.
Thy pain is sore,
and thou hast cause for sorrow yet;
grieve thou no more.
Close memory’s door;
that day is dead, that sun has set —
the past is o’er.
There are in store
for thee still happy days. Forget!
Grieve thou no more.
Smile as of yore–
no longer let thine eyes be wet,
the past is o’er.
Grieve thou no more!

I took this as a message from the Lord to me, one that I needed to hear at that moment. While I won’t stop missing Rose or regret we can no longer communicate, I need to shut the door on that insatiable remorse of “I should have…” For one thing, it’s actually a self-centered grief. For another, I can’t improve the past one speck by regretting it.

“Where to from here?” is a better question than “Why didn’t I?”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: SHUT

 

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