Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Red and Blue make Purple

I had planned on painting a picture to illustrate my thoughts before I wrote this post. Doing so would mean I'd have to clear off the dining room table first and well, let's just say here I am sans painting.

This morning on bloglines I read Deb's post in which she quotes the promises. Aha. The very thing that's been occupying my brain for the past three or four days. For there's this sentence within them that I almost always stumble over.
"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."

Recently I heard someone in recovery say she had no regrets.
For the briefest moment it felt like I lived in that reality too and then the clouds closed over again and I was left for the umpteenth time wondering how that could ever be possible.

In mulling this over the other day I came up with a few ideas.
I saw my past as a swirl of colour.
Drawing on my Grade One thick fit-in-my-fist crayons knowledge I remembered that mixing blue and red created a new colour, purple. And how I often want to only recognize the new colours in my life as if the red and blue never even existed.

I wondered if liking who I am today has to precede having no regrets.
Or is it the other way around?
Does the degree of regret equal the degree of self loathing?
Does having no regrets mean I regret the experience without letting the experience define me?
Is having no regrets like embracing the blues and reds that made the purple of today possible? I not only embrace the new colour but the ones that came together to create it?
Does having no regrets take anything away from the people who lived on the other side of the regret?
Does making amends erase regrets?
Am I missing something by trying to figure this out?

These days I think I'm closer to embracing that who I am today is a direct result of the whole of my life experience to this point.
And I am closer to not only embracing but embracing with warmth the person I am today.
I've recognized that forgiving myself is necessary and a good step.
I could list specifics here of the things I do regret but somehow I don't think that's the point.
I welcome any thoughts you may have on this.


bobbie said...

i LOVE the metaphor of the crayons and the color purple - this is really huge.

i don't know if it was me you heard, but i say that often. i really don't. am i still sad about some things i did or had done to me, yes, and i'm grieving them - but i know that who i am today is made up of all those 1000 little pieces - broken up and put back together.

i think that this is where redemption happens - when we can bring those things into the light and know that they weren't wasted because a) they have created who we are today and b) they can help others with their own broken pieces.

that is why the color metaphor speaks so deeply to me - because the spectrum that we have to "color with" now is so much brighter and more real because of it.

i don't believe the regrets are ever "erased" as you asked, i just think it's more like the scar that is still on your body showing where you were hurt, but not physically causing pain any more.

i think that the self loathing is based more in the shame we face/don't face but have instead of in the place where regrets lie. does that make sense??

i'd love to talk more about this - do you have time tomorrow??

love you!

Poor Mad Peter said...

It strikes me that forgiveness is inevitably a work-in-progress.

onionboy said...

All we have is today so it makes sense to embrace it. I cannot erase the past, it forms who I am but I, with God, am in control of how I allow that past to form me today. Will it control and dictate or will it inform and give me strength to rise again? Either way, all I have is today. To be truly present in the moment is a kind of self forgiving in itself. I actually believe that.

Grace and peace be with


Anonymous said...


Do you really think it is possible to go through life without having any regrets? And is having regrets always a negative thing? I have plenty of things that I regret doing to other people and I'm trying hard not to regret things done to me. Is this a good thing? I don't know yet. Sometimes I wish certain things hadn't happened but then I definitely wouldn't be the same person, would I? Is that good or bad? Should I even use the terms good and bad in trying to express my thoughts? :)

Sometimes I wish a certain event had never happened to me but I'm not sure that is the same as regret. Maybe it is. (shrug)

In Judaism there is a thought/teaching that God showed us (in our soul form) our entire life before we were born and we could choose to accept or decline this life. I know this is a hard thing to get our brain around because it deals with the very core of freewill but if we didn't choose our life then do we not have grounds to be angry at God for doing this to us? If we did choose this life, what good did we see in it that made it worth choosing before it was erased from our memory and we were born into our human bodies?

I realize that this will sound rather cliche but I am so serious here. I have been trying to look for the good in my life on the premise that there is something here worth choosing. Maybe I just don't understand what is meant by regret??

When one looks in the dictionary for regret it describes a word that I think is impossible to live without experiencing. Can one really keep forging ahead in our lives without experiencing regret? Regret is defined as:

v. tr.

1. To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about.
2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.

v. intr.
To feel regret.

1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone.
2. A feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.
3. regrets A courteous expression of regret, especially at having to decline an invitation.

Why do we tend to view regret in a negative way? Without having or feeling regret would we still be able to feel things like compassion, empathy, sympathy or even forgiveness? Maybe it's just our way of perceiving or looking at regret that screws us up and not the actual experience of regret.

Love you.

Not so Anonymous Friend

PS Purple is my favourite colour! LOL

Jim said...

Hope: A lot of good things said here already (I really like Bobbie spoke unto you and am glad the two of appear to have a bond present to discuss the issue). I can only speak out of my own experience, of course, and say to you that, in looking back, I often remark how glad I am to have lived. That does not mean at all, however, that I do not regret greatly many things along the way. In Christ, you learn to live in the present and give the past to Him. I think if it were any different, we would take Grace for granted, swell up in our ego, and just begin all over again. In truth, the brain is but a God-built computer and it retains all in spite of what our spirit decides to alter along the way. That doesn't mean I have to let the brain take me into gloom and despair. I don't have to live in the thoughts that pass through, nor in mistakes and stumbles yet made. Grace is more than a word; forgiveness is more than something I do for myself. Find His well, ma'am, and fall into it. We can't live there, either, but it does give us strength for the journey......

daisymarie said...

I have read this twice.
I am thinking about this.
I will let you know what I think as I wade through it.
Thanks for the ponder fodder.

Anonymous said...

Such good food for thought, in the post and in the comments, at a time when I seem to be dining on much less savoury fare. Regrets and self-loathing... I think I get what Bobbie is saying but I have to give that some thought. I do like the colour idea, Hope.

In the meantime, I look again to that well.

beth said...

In my life, properly processed regret led to acceptance. My willingness to let go of my expectations of myself (and others) to be perfect, stain-free, sin-free was the key.

There are many, many things I have done that hurt others. I am saddened by the pain I caused by my choices. I do REGRET the pain I caused; but I ACCEPT that I did those things, and I understand that it was the best I could do at the time. I have wallowed in self-loathing, but began to see that as the ulimate form of selfishness. I can offer no healing when I am absorbed in the negativity of the past.

You mention having no regrets possibly taking away from those who lived on the other side; that is something which you cannot control. You will forever live with the consequence of sin, but you cannot live in bondage to someone else because you have hurt them. Neither the offended party nor yourself honor God in that.

Hope, I reread some of your posts to become more familiar with your journey. They offer me so much encouragement. Maybe you could re-visit yourself through some of your writing, and be reminded of the process. Your baby steps add up to something huge, a life that honors God because you are consistently moving towards Him. It may feel like one step up, two steps back, but it's progress.

I am praying for you today.

Hope said...

Wow - so much food for thought here that these comments need a post of their own!