Regrets, wrong decisions and hindsight

Three separate things have led me to today’s post: Firstly, a discussion a couple of weeks ago with friends about things in our past that we regretted. Not the little “Oh I wished hadn’t eaten that extra slice of cake” type regrets, but the big ones such as “I wished I’d never had that relationship”. Secondly, the post I did the other week about heading off down a wrong turn in life. And thirdly a Church service where the preacher spoke about looking back with hindsight at the decisions we had made in life.

Now I’ll start be telling the story which Rev Trevor Gerhardt told us at the beginning of his sermon. There was a man walking through the desert and he was beginning to suffer from dehydration and really need water. Eventually he found a tent with a Bedouin standing outside. He asked the man for some water. “Sorry,” came the reply, “I don’t have any water. But I can sell you a tie”. “I don’t need a tie, I need water!”. “Sorry I can’t help then, but there is another tent about three hours away in that direction” replied the tie-seller. So reluctantly the man continued on his way through the desert. Eventually he came to the second tent, and again there was a Bedouin standing outside. “Water, water, I need water” said the weary traveller. “Oh I have plenty of water, but you can’t come in” he was told. “Why?” “Because you’re not wearing a tie!”

So all through life we are presented with choices, but it is only with hindsight that we can see if we have taken the correct path or not. However, whichever path we take, it affects us for the rest of lives. It’s not possible to go back in time and alter our decision. Once made, the path is set, and even if we decide that we are going down the wrong route, it’s not possible to go back and start again. We just take a different route from where we are now.

So when my friends were saying that they regretted taking certain jobs, or having relationships which didn’t work out, I can honestly say that I don’t. I may not like the way some of my decisions have played out, but if I could alter them, I probably wouldn’t because I wouldn’t end up where I am now. If I had never met/married my ex-wife, I probably wouldn’t have the daughter I have. If I had taken that other job (the one I would have enjoyed more than filling shelves, paid better and had better prospects), I probably wouldn’t have some of the best friends I now have. And if I had not gone to Church on that particular Sunday (and just carried as any other Sunday), I wouldn’t have my other best friends. Yes I admit I have made some really bad/stupid decisions in my life but on the whole, I am happy with where I am now. I have a good set of friends and a daughter that I wouldn’t change for anything.

So I challenge you, next time you’re thinking that you’ve made a really bad choice, and are regretting it, just think about what’s good in you life and imagine if it wasn’t there. If you had taken a different route, you life would be entirely different, and not necessarily for the better.

3 Responses to “Regrets, wrong decisions and hindsight”

  1. Leesy Says:

    I guess we are where we are and I am with you on this one. I am grateful for the path that I have taken because it has led me to where I am today. A whole(r) person thanks to the grace of God and important lessons learned along the way. There is a great verse in Jeremiah about God reshaping us just as the potter does with the clay. If I had not gone through divorce and various other traumas I would not be the wise old owl I am today. Thanks for the insights.

  2. kaz Says:

    Every decision we make is the right decision at that time. Advice given to me by my Darling Nan.
    There by the Grace of God we go. Thanks for the reminder that there is also no condemnation in Christ. Amen

  3. Past, present and future #1 « The Unknown Person’s Blog Says:

    […] some of the easiest to write we’re the ones that probably give you the most to think about. Regrets, wrong decisions and hindsight, A blank piece of paper and Uncertainty (and if you look back just a little before the month […]

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