I sometimes think that two of the saddest words are “If only…” They are full of such regret!
They are words of hindsight and, depending on how often we use them, they can keep us stuck in the past or in the throes of pain and regrets.
I’ve been thinking about that recently as we’ve begun to deal with the grandchild I mentioned in my last post–the one who has finally been able to articulate issues dealing with sexuality. It’s easy to find myself thinking–or even saying–“If only we’d recognized the signs years ago, how much pain might have been avoided….” “If only we’d started this process before puberty, how much easier it would have been…” “If only…”
But that serves no purpose.
We are dealing with the here and now, and “what if” or “if only” can’t change what is.
Mind you, I’m not saying that hindsight is a problem to be avoided. Far from it! Hindsight can help us see where we’ve made mistakes that we can avoid in the future. In that way it can be a gift.
However, if we spend significant amounts of time wallowing in regret for the things we’ve left undone, then we may very well find ourselves destroying the gifts of the present and the future. “If we spend our time with regrets over yesterday, and worries over what might happen tomorrow, we have no today in which to live.”
Let us use life wisely.