Raw Reflections from the Journey

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grief without Regrets

"I think we get it confused sometimes", Jill said. "We grieve about what has been lost and the outcome of different choices, but we've made our choices together the best we could with the information we had, and so I don't regret what we chose, but I do grieve."

Dr. Vellanki found me licking my wounds in the break room, and he intuited my spirit. I was sad and aggravated with myself because the choice I'd made to help someone had backfired. "Jeff, your heart is good. I trust you, and I know you made that choice with the information you had available. You meant good." I can't tell you how much Dr. V's affirmation meant to me.

Are you grieving something, or someone? How about grief about what was said/done or not said and not done in a relationship? Personally, the more I sleep the more I dream about my dad. Very strange in one way, but healthy and real in another. Last night I dreamed that dad was alive at a family gathering. Eventually it was made clear to me that I was the only one talking to him; that I was hallucinating (in my dream) that he was still among us. Grief? yes. With regrets? No. I'm confident that we both did the best we could with the information and opportunities we had and that we created.

What prompted this blog? Late this afternoon I was moved to click on a podcast from Mars Hill Church by Mark Driscoll, "Ministry Marriages". He laid out how idolatry is the culprit behind all sin, including the veneration of ministry leaders who sometimes put their marriage and family on the altar of sacrifice in order to "further the gospel". His poignant indictment hit close to home regarding my/our motives to risk and sacrifice in the past. Both Jill and I listened to it, and eventually she let me and us off the hook saying, "I grieve, but I don't have regrets."

Is hindsight 20/20? Maybe not perfect acuity, but close. And that's the point. If we knew then what we knew today we might have chosen differently, but we didn't. We chose the best we could with the information we had, and that is our solace.

The Grand Caveat to all of this is the fact that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We do the best we know today, and tomorrow we the same; sometimes changing our minds according to experience and outcomes.

Grieve as you must (and we all will according to the losses and changes visited upon us), but don't regret unfairly. You probably chose the best you could with the information you had. Get more information tomorrow, and have the humility to choose differently. One day will see very clearly. Until then, He understands (and so should we) that we see now behind a glass dimly lit.

with love and compassion, Jeff

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