“Forks in the road”

I sat down today and thought about all the “forks in the road” that could have led to a much different life for me. 

Some of these “forks” were faced by my parents and others were the ones I faced, but each one resulted in where I am today. 

The major “fork” that my parents had was to stay married or get divorced. When I was a child, I imagined what it would have been like for them to stay together— my mother wouldn’t have married my step-father and my life might have been more stable. I used to spend a lot of time wondering what that might have looked like. Now I know that it was just a waste of time. 

One of the “forks” I faced was to get sterilized or not get sterilized. I chose to get sterilized after four children and two miscarriages. There are days when I regret that decision and I wonder what it would have been like to have more children. The days I spent mourning my decision was also a waste of time. 

Sometimes we make bad decisions and sometimes people make a choice that we just have to “live with.” Even though we replay these things in our heads and wish that we can go back in time and do things differently, we can’t do anything to change the past. 

I used to have a lot of guilt about the “forks” I had taken, but I realized that God had allowed me to take these various paths. If I wasn’t supposed to take them then He would have done something to prevent me from taking them. 

Sometimes the path is difficult and full of heartache, but even then I have to realize that it’s the path He wanted me to take. I can’t waste my time thinking about things that “could have been” because there’s a reason why I was on that path and not on the other. If my mind and heart are elsewhere then I won’t be alert to what I’m supposed to see and experience. 

I had a very difficult childhood because of the “fork” my parents took, but looking back I think that experience has made me more aware of the issues that some children and teenagers face when in a similar situation. I want to tell them to cling to God no matter how bleak their circumstances are at the moment; and I want to encourage them to never give up, to look up and to look ahead. 

Although I regret some of the “forks” I had taken, I need to stop feeling guilty and sad.  I think discouragement happens when we focus on our past and lose sight of everything else.  I need to “look up” and “look ahead”— to fix my attention on God and to concentrate on the future. 

“For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you….

Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.” 

(Proverbs 2:6-11, 20)

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Regrets

For the past couple of days I have been thinking about things I regret. I know it was triggered by the sudden death of one of my professors; in fact, I tend to think about these things when people around me die.

The last communication I had with that one professor was an email. My husband and I were thinking of having a marriage seminar at our church and we had asked Dr. C. if he could lead it. He told us his price and we said it was too much money for our church so he offered to give us his PowerPoint presentation so that we could lead the seminar ourselves.

We put off having the event for another year. A few months ago, I thought about writing to ask him about the PowerPoint. Now I will no longer be in communication with him and I will never get his slide presentation.

I heard that my father-in-law wanted to talk to me just before he died. We called but he was asleep. I never had the chance to talk to him. Every so often I would wonder what he wanted to tell me, but now I’ll never know.

When I heard that my grandmother died I was devastated. I was in the habit of writing to her, but I kept putting off talking to her on the phone. I wanted to tell her about Jesus and to present the gospel to her, but I kept telling myself that I had plenty of time and that there would be another day to call. I never had that opportunity because she died suddenly.

There are other regrets—things I wish I had never done or things I wish I could change. Sometimes I play the events in my head and think, “What if I had done that instead?” No matter how much I think about these things, it doesn’t change anything. I know they are all distractions meant to keep me trapped in the past rather than living in the present and looking forward to the future.

Isaiah 43:18 says, “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past” (NASB). This one verse makes me realize that I shouldn’t focus my attention on things I can’t change.

I think we experience regret so that we won’t make the same mistake. It also makes me realize that I shouldn’t put off something for another day when I am thinking about it today.

We shouldn’t put off things that we want to do until tomorrow because as the Scripture says, “…you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow…” (James 4:14).

Are there things that you have been putting off? Don’t delay any longer— do it today!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti