Monday, September 17, 2012

Do Over

I have had a lot of time to think lately.  Not that the amount of time in my day has increased, but rather because I have just been plain old absent from internet communications.  I check my email once a day, sometimes twice, put in a quick glance on Facebook and then just stop.  I'm woefully behind on my Google Reader and pages and pages of Pinterest items have gone unlooked at. Nothing personal to anyone out there, I just haven't had the energy lately.  It's mostly because I kept on trying to get on for a quick look and found myself losing track of time and then not having time to do the important things like Cooking Dinner or Eating.  So rather than putting off the morning meal, I put off the morning reading/pinning check and now they have gone by the way side rather than breakfast.  My husband can attest... this is a good thing! Food makes me happy.  And happy people just don't kill their husbands!

But I digress.

Do Over.

I've genuinely tried to live life with no regrets.  I remember hearing that phrase as a teenager and thinking that I knew what it meant.  Do things you wouldn't normally do!  Be brave! Don't let the world pass you by! All such vague concepts.  Trivial even.  Back then it meant to take that vacation, go on that ride, throw caution to the wind and try something new.  As I've gotten older and have had more "life" to look back on, I've realized that it means more.  It was never about taking that vacation or throwing caution to the wind, it was more about being able to live with myself.  The consequences of my actions or inactions. 

I am not without regrets.  I am not haunted by a multitude either, but there are some strong instances that stick out.  Some strong instances that really do haunt me.

One was in the mission field.  My companion and I were teaching a gentleman.  He had a desire to learn, to figure out what all this "Mormonism" was about.  His profession taught him to question everything, to research both sides, and he did his job well.  Many meetings were spent addressing these questions.  At the end of each meeting either my companion or myself would bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.  It didn't always make sense to him but he always felt something positive and invited us back.  Except for the last time.  Scheduling got in the way.  We met him at his office building and the room was only available for a limited time.  It had been an exhausting discussion.  At the end I felt that I should bear strong testimony but in the rush of the moment I decided to skip it this time and be sure to do it extra well next time.  Right?

There was no next time.  He never invited us back.  I never got my second chance, my Do Over, to make things right.  That was 15ish years ago and it still haunts me.  What would have happened if I had followed my gut?  If I had been brave enough to do the right thing?

The other haunt is in regards to someone I just don't know well at all.  Someone whom I judged rashly.  Harshly even.  Someone who really needed to be a part of something but I just wasn't brave enough to take it on.  Not brave enough to really open my heart.  Not brave enough to help someone heal theirs.  I thought there would be someone else that could step in much better than I could.  I don't really know if I could have helped, if my efforts would have even made a difference.  I never gave it a chance.

Times gives perspective.  15 years of haunting, of looking back with regret and shame; wanting to bury it, leave it in the past where it belongs; ignore it and it will go away right?  15 years of learning and growing.  15 years to get brave.  15 years to do what I should have done in the first place.  My Do Over.

I could be called "chicken" by nature, or at least when it comes to confrontation.  I don't like to call people.  I don't know how to face them sometimes.  I write things instead.  That's what I decided to do, write letters.  A heartfelt apology for not being brave enough to do what was right when it counted the most.   Pouring out my heart, asking for forgiveness, bearing my soul....  There are so many ways each could be taken.  Mocked, made the object of office ridicule, laughed at, thought about, wondered about....  I have no idea how they were taken.  But I do know that for the first time in 15 years I don't look back with shame, guilt, or regret.  I may not have made the right choice the first time around, but I took a Do Over, or rather a Try Again and that's the best I can do. 

The rest of my life is far from perfect.  Mistakes are made daily.  They just aren't the haunting kind.  15 years of regret teaches its own lessons.  I like to think that I have gained some perspective.  Realized that there are things that are worth standing up for regardless of who surrounds me.  I do not want to be shamed into making the wrong choice.  I do not want to be scared away from making the right one. 

We all have battles to fight of our own.  Choices to make, adversity to face.  Will the decisions we make today haunt us 15 years from now? 


  1. Do I know the second instance? If so, I commend you. You are a better person than I. But, well, that is not breaking news...

  2. I'm pretty sure you don't know the second instance unless worlds have collided that I don't know about. Second part... don't even know how to respond to that...!!?! possibly with ridiculous??

  3. This post is awesome. You truly have a way with words. I read it yesterday on my phone, but it's hard to comment from my phone.

    I certainly hope I can live a life free of regret. It's hard to let things go, but I like what you said. Try again to do our best. :)