Ninety-seven

DSC_0018re·gret
rəˈɡret/
verb
feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).

My church is studying Lamentations during Lent. On Sunday we were greeted with a big whiteboard with the question, “What is your biggest regret?” and we were encouraged to write our answer, anonymously. I thought about it all throughout the service, but never wrote anything on the board.

My husband and I talked about it on the way home and shared what we considered the biggest regrets of our lives, as well as the biggest regrets of life more recently.

I haven’t stopped thinking about regrets.

We are moving out of our house at the end of the month. So today, I’ve had house regrets on my mind. There are plenty of little things, like aesthetics. We’ve never hung anything on the walls of our master bedroom. For almost 8 years now, the walls have been completely bare. It’s as if weren’t willing to put down roots/a nail in the wall. It wasn’t until our house was going on the market that we finally finished ripping down wallpaper in the bathroom.

There are bigger regrets. I can only name 4 of my neighbors. I’ve never seen the inside of any other house in my neighborhood. I thought about organizing a neighborhood potluck dinner, but never acted on it. Our neighbor’s wife spent most of the past year and a half wasting away from alzheimer’s and I only took him a meal a couple of times. Actually, I made the meals but made my husband deliver them, because I didn’t want to enter into that grief.

I didn’t show enough hospitality. I hosted showers, a few parties, a Thanksgiving meal, but I didn’t regularly open up our home to share with others. I made too many vague, “We should get together sometime” invitations and never followed through with them.

In this home, I didn’t love well. I wasted time and opportunities. I was lazy. I lied. I yelled. I didn’t repent quickly enough. I did damage. I held grudges. I hurt on purpose.

As we close this chapter of our story, I am filled with regret. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been so much good that has taken place here. Of course there has been. Two of our children were born within these walls. We celebrated numerous birthdays here, including my very favorite 30th. Every square inch of this home is colored with memories and laughter. But too much of my life these past 8 years has taken place within these walls to the point that they almost served as a fortress that few were allowed to enter. My life and my world shrunk down until everything outside of my comfortable space was of distant secondary concern.

The green door house, while still not officially ours, is a symbol of hope to our family. It’s a  symbol of redemption. It’s a clean slate, a second chance. A chance to know and love our neighbors. To show God’s love in real, practical ways.

What will God do? How will he move? How we he grow and change us? What kinds of opportunities does he have in store? What does life in the green door house look like? What does life lived out of the green door house look like? The answers are so close I can almost touch them. Pray with me that these desires would be so much more than just desires. That when the Spirit moves, I would act. That I would have fewer regrets and more rejoicing.

 

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