Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit my daughter Nicole at her college. While there she asked if I could help her with a project and go with her to interview some homeless people. At first I don’t want to too and I didn't want her to either, but I realized this was something God had laid on her heart to do, so of course I gave in. I’m not even sure if it is PC anymore to call people who live on the streets homeless, but that’s where they were at so that’s where we went.
Nicole offered them some water to break the ice and then asked them if she could ask them a few questions about their current situation. She had a series of questions to ask them in regards to how they got to this position in their life, but the kicker questions was asked at the end. She asked each of them if they had any regrets in their lives. Talk about a dangerous question! One would almost expect it to induce denial, anger, or both. Each time she came to that question I was ready to grab Nicole’s arm and run her off to safety just in case, but I was surprised by the sadness that this question evoked.
I distinctly remember two gentlemen’s answers that really impacted me. They first was from David who found himself homeless after being laid off a number of times and just gave up trying. His regret was never pursuing becoming a pilot. He had always loved airplanes and never did anything about it. You could see the sadness in his face as he thought of what could have been. The other response, which was the most emotional, was from Clark. Clark had been hardened by the streets. He had a college education and at one point had a really good career, so it really wasn't clear why Clark made a decision to drop out of society until he answered the regret question. He simply said, “I wish I would have never left my wife.” Not only did his response evoke sadness in him, but I felt overwhelming compassion like never before for a person on the streets. An abandoned dream and an abandoned relationship had left both of these men broken.
I’m sure we have all done things in our lives that we regret, things that we wish would have done differently or wouldn't have done at all, but we don’t have to live with regret. Regret stops the moment we do something about it. If you don’t your regret with get the best of you. God wants to help us overcome our regrets and get on with the best life possible.
Do you have a dream? What are you doing to pursue it? Do you have a hurt in your life? What are doing to heal it? Move on your idea. Pursue your dream. Say you’re sorry. Rebuild the relationship. Don’t wake up one day with a life filled with regret because regret is a painful place to lay your head every day.
Maybe it’s time to stop tucking regret in with you every night when you go to bed.