Tuesday, May 27, 2014

REGRET

Rehabilitation Officer: Ellis Boyd Redding: your file says you've served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you've been rehabilitated?

Red: Rehabilitated?... Well, now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.

Rehabilitation Officer: Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin society, to—

Red: [Interrupting] I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it's just a made-up word. A politician's word, so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really wanna know? Am I sorry for what I did?

Rehabilitation Officer: Well, are you?

Red: There's not a day goes by that I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I gotta live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a [sorry] word. So go ahead and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a [hoot].

The Shawshank Redemption
(http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Shawshank_Redemption)
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Regrets, we all experience them. Something we should have said or done that we did not say or do. Something that was said/done that could have been executed better. Regret always lives future-present with eyes always looking at the past. Regret is like somebody walking backward in life and always pointing out the missed opportunities. 

I think it is important to distinguish between Regret and Unfulfilled Dreams. Regret deals with negative implications producing end-of-the-line consequences. Regret comes from a decision by which we cannot reverse. Recovering from regret is definitely possible, but changing the past is certainly impossible.

On the other side of the coin we have the more positive outlook. Unfulfilled Dreams are personal expectations that still have hope. It is like a flicker of a flame that has potential to become a roaring bonfire! 

Another perspective to consider is to learn from Regret. This means we take the time to have reflective moments and notice the supposed "regret" that has lead us through our experiences and relationships to now! The choices we make, even the ones we consider "regrets" later-on, shape us. For example, what I might see as a regret of not sticking with piano lessons as a young kid and probably ending up with a band or musical group somewhere has landed me with all kinds of other decisions with positive outcomes. Decisions that kept me on a path that lead me to meet my wife, all the friends I have made and the life experiences that have transpired since then. However, Regret should not be done in order to have these reflective moments. It should never be a lifestyle, merely a possible tool in a tool-belt of life that is used as a character-shaping instrument.

What then is living? Answer: In the simplest of forms - a constant stream of decisions. What is the quality of our life if those streams of decisions are spent mostly second-guessing our every move? Answer:  Not a very high quality, enjoyable life. In fact, life is more paranoid and caught in a web of confusion, despair, and side-roads of wasted time.

There are a hand-full of places where Christ says the words - "I have come...". This declaration and the words that follow them are some of the highest prized words to me. In John 10:10, Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. In the King James Version, the word "full" is "abundantly". The original Greek word for full/abundant is perissos (per-is-sos'), meaning superior or excessive in quantity AND quality.

Christ's coming, teachings, death, and resurrection have provided for all who choose to follow His way - a life of abundance. Regret does not live long in the light of this truth. So, live life, make your decisions, adjust, adapt and as Red put it in Shawshank Redemption - "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'."