I walked into the Java Coffee house at Nyali Center not sure of what to expect. I was here to meet with a man who had called me early in the morning asking if I could accept to meet with him urgently. I don’t get many such requests early on Saturday morning and I therefore had no idea what to expect.
Dan was already at the restaurant when I arrived and after introducing himself, we made our orders and then he began telling me his story and why he wanted to meet with me urgently. It turned out that he had spent the night in an after-party of a rugby tournament in town and had ended up getting intimate with three different ladies before the night was over. When morning came, Dan had left with his friends and it was only after getting into his house that reality hit him and the consequences of his actions dawned on him. He had asked himself all the “what if” questions. He could not believe himself and wondered what he was thinking, how could he betray Sue like this. Sue was his girlfriend of many years and was now his fiance with a wedding planned for December. How will he even face her after the night escapades? What if she finds out?
Dan was full of regrets and I could see the pain in his eyes as we talked but the irony of the situation was that during the night of partying, a friend of his had tried to warn him to stop flirting and drinking but he had kept on going. His argument was, there is nothing wrong in talking to good looking ladies. How he wished he would have listened, however, the opportunity to turn away and turn from trouble was gone. Where an opportunity to choose differently existed was now a sea of regret.Would it have been possible to avoid all the regret? To avoid getting yourself where Dan found himself, you can choose to live by the following two thoughts or principles that will help you safeguard yourself from living in regret.
1. It’s Your Direction and not Your Dreams that Determines Your Destination –
Honestly speaking, I keep meeting people like Dan all the time. People who have chosen a road that has led to trouble and when they get there, they realize that was not the destination they wanted to arrive at. A husband flirts with a colleague and when things move forward, he turns around in regret. A banker begins altering records and when they find themselves at the dock in court, regrets set in. What about the young girl crying because the man is gone, she is still a student and pregnant? Truth is, it does not matter what dreams you have or what destinations you want to arrive at, the road you take, the path you choose is what determines where you will arrive. Dan chose a path that led to a broken engagement because Sue got to hear about it from one of her lady friends who was at the party. Heartache for Dan did not end with the broken engagement, one of the girls from his escapades claims she is pregnant with his child. He did not want to be a father just yet, had not planned to be a father outside of wedlock and had no plans to break up with Sue but his actions, the path he chose that night determined the results he got. All his dreams in regard to being a husband and father dashed and altered simply because he took a direction that led him to a different destination. Lesson for us, we have to carefully watch where we are going to avoid living in regret.
2. It is wrong to make decisions based on how you feel –
Feelings change with the mode and the moment. You cannot trust your feelings to make wise decisions. I remember Janet crying in my office asking me what she could do. She was going to marry her sweetheart within two weeks but she had a tattoo on her back that read, “Forever in love with Steve”. She had gotten the tattoo while still in campus and madly in love with Steve. After Campus, they had broken up and she had never thought about it seriously until now. What would her husband think and feel after they got married? Imagine him seeing those words on the back of his wife every day for the rest of their lives. Well, when Janet was getting the tattoo, her feelings for Steve was all that mattered. She had argued that there was nothing wrong with getting a tattoo but now she was full of regret. Dan was also in regret, he had said there was nothing wrong with flirting, he had felt very nice while doing it but feelings cannot be trusted to make wise decisions. Dan had to learn to make decisions soberly and wisely and we need to learn the same in order to avoid regret. Feelings change but our decisions and their consequences stay with us.
Dan is slowly healing from the break up with Sue and preparing himself for what lies ahead as a father even though he is secretly waiting for the baby to be born so that he can get DNA tests and all done. He is also waiting for another test, planning to take a HIV test in the next two months or so and he has chosen to ensure he lives differently going forward. He is now carefully choosing his direction and making wise decisions.
I challenged his value system and got him to begin to read the bible and seek to live for more than just himself, selfishness leads to a life of regret. To make wise choices, you need to have the wisdom to do so and the Bible gives you that.
What other principles would you add to my two? How can we all live life and enjoy it without regret? I would love to hear from you.