“Make the most of your regrets,” Henry David Thoreau once said. “Never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”
Yesterday, I wrote about five things I would attempt to save if my house was burning down. Reflecting on the contradictory definitions a “spark,” I focused more on the fire than its aftermath. Its so easy to do in the heat of the moment. Why is it that in so many cases we don’t appreciate what we have until its gone?
Today, I realized all of the precious things I left behind. Practical things came to mind like my warm doggie bed and my Packer jersey. But I know those are replaceable. They’re just things.
Far more devastating are the memories lost in the ashes. I’ll never forget the first day my parents brought me home and let me explore my new house. All those hours spent playing fetch with Mrs. Prickles in the hallway. The first day mom let me come up on the bed. Money can’t buy back these memories.
I take a two-fold lesson from this experiment in thought. (See, there is always a silver lining).
1) Savor the small things. There are so many ways to lose sight of the importance of special moments in our lives. But there is a reason money can’t buy memories. Moments are priceless. There are groundbreaking days when major milestones make things easy to remember, but as Sarah Ban Breathnach points out in Simple Abundance “there is a lot of drudgery in most days.” These are the days we need to seek out joy in the small things.
2) Respect the past as preparation for the future. It’s all too easy to take things for granted. If we surrender to life’s simplicities and appreciate what we have on a daily basis, the future will be that much brighter. “I never regret anything,” says actress Drew Barrymore, “because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.”
It is with my past in a special place in my heart that I find faith in the future. With faith as my fuel, I know my dreams will always be more exciting than my memories.
Today’s post is dedicated to Mandy Atkielski.
Eighteen-year-old Mandy entered doggie heaven yesterday. She will be missed.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
- Catching Fire: Seeing A Glimmer of Hope Amidst the Flames (wileyschmidt.wordpress.com)