This summer I have committed to writing out the book of Proverbs. My son has been doing it for a class in school and his endeavor challenged me to do the same.
I have never done anything like this before and probably would never have thought about doing it until my son started. But I have to say it has been an amazing journey! It’s so surprising what you can learn just by copying down the words of Scripture. I am enjoying it immensely and am learning much along the way.
In my copying of Proverbs, I came across a verse in Chapter 5 that says, You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings!” Those two words, IF ONLY in that verse, stood out to me.
IF ONLY are the words of regret. If only . . . I had not ignored the warnings of my parents, If only . . . I hadn’t eaten that last piece of cake, if only . . . I had said I love you, if only . . . I hadn’t rushed to get married, if only . . . I had not worked so much, if only . . . I had spent more time with my children, if only . . . if only.
You can’t undo regret; you can’t make it go away. Regret is something you carry with you for the rest of your life.
I realized early in life that I hated regret and purposed in my heart as a young person to do everything in my power to not have a mountain of regret at the end of my life. I didn’t want to be at the finish and have IF ONLY as my epitaph.
As I write this I’m reminded of the profound words by the late Erma Bombeck after she found out she had a fatal disease.
If I Had My Life To Live Over
I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”
There would have been more “I love you’s”. . . More “I’m sorrys” . . .
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute. . . look at it and really see it . . . live it. . . and never give it back.
Let’s not wait until the end of our life and wish we lived in a different way. Let’s live differently NOW. Will you purpose, in your hearts with me, that from this moment on you CHOOSE to live a life with no regrets and in the words of Erma Bombeck . . .
“Seize every minute . . . look at it and really see it . . . live it . . . and never give it back.”