We’ve all said, “If I could just go back….” All of us have bones in the closet, people we couldn’t look in the eye if they walked in the room. It has been my experience when someone talks about going back and doing something over again, it is to undo a currently bad situation. “I would go back and not pick up smoking.” “I wouldn’t have married who I married” “I would have gone to college” “I would not have driven my car after drinking”
I am very conscientious about this when it comes to my kids. I don’t want to say (as they are getting out of the car their freshman year at college), I wish I would have done more “x” or less “y”. Same with friends. I am trying to make a point of spending time with and communicating with my friends. Tragedy can happen in an instance and I don’t want to be in that “If I could do it over” situation
Tom T. Hall has dozens of lines that I absolutely love. One of my favorites is from a relatively unknown song called “I Hope it Rains at My Funeral”. I have a clip to the song and the end. The song is about a man, probably middle age, that has made a string of poor decisions. And for the most part they have worked against him. Looking back on his life he can see how he ended up where he is. The man comes to that “If I could go back…” moment, but instead he says the following:
Ain’t no sense in wantin’ my life to live over
I’d find different ways to make those mistakes again
And that’s the truth as far as I am concerned. Ain’t no sense in wanting to go back to 1990, 93, 98, 2003, 07, 12….whatever mistakes I made then, I would find a new (and possibly more destructive) way to make those mistakes again. Not only that, but in the mistakes I have made, I have been able to learn from them – and very well become a better person than I ever would have otherwise.
But – that doesn’t make up for the people I have hurt in the past. As Tom T. says in the song “I guess there’s a few that I still couldn’t look in the eye.” There are too many people – male and female – that I have hurt in the past. Who knows, maybe they struggle with something internal today due to something I said or did 20 years ago. I cringe at the thought. Those are the events I would like to do over. Not so much what I may have endured, but the pain I may have caused others. And not to just clear my conscience. That would be a selfish motive. I’d like to undo those moments because they were wrong. A human was treated less that human by me.
Apologizing is a good thing, but must be carefully done. I may find someone via the Internet, apologize to them electronically for something I said/did in 1997. Turns out they had forgotten all about it, but now I have brought the horrible event back to their mind. Did I do a good thing? That’s why apologizing must be done with all parties in mind, not just your own.
As I come out of the locker room for the 3rd quarter of my life, I am much more aware of how my actions can have long lasting consequences. Not only to my life but to others. My goal is that when I enter the 2 minute warning of my life, that I have minimal regrets on how I played the 3rd and 4th quarter