One thing about trying to talk a friend out of a low mood is that your words of advice often will shine back and light up your own situation. That's what happened for me. I didn't notice it until late last night when I was having one of those pity parties myself.
This was a pity party of one, brought on by having too much left to do in preparation for Iowa and letting myself get worked up into a state of post-midnight anxiety. If my family had been awake, I would have been distracted by the chaos that is our usual mode of being together under one roof. But it was late, I was tired and too wired to sleep, and I'm pretty sure that the smoked fish I had for a snack was acting as a organic hallucinogen.
I went from thinking of what to pack into the two suitcases I'm taking with me to wondering if I shouldn't add a third suitcase to wondering about the meaning of all life and afterlife. I actually got up and went outside for a while to stand in the rain and have a conversation with God (who was probably musing at how often we silly humans think for some reason that we have to be looking at something - the sky, tall trees, birds - to talk to Him). While I was outside, it started to rain and, as a result, I went back to the bedroom with not only a full-fledged case of self-inflicted anxiety but nappy hair and damp clothes.
Regrets are rude guests, always coming for a visit at the wrong time and when you are not in a mood to entertain them. They are really only good for one thing: reminding you that you have to be compassionate enough to have them over for company.
except maybe for that really bad high school haircut
Anyway, I said my prayers and lay down to try to sleep. Of course, once I started to relax, I started remembering everything I'd said to my friend. I hadn't said much (for me), but the basic piece of advice I gave her is probably something I retained from what my mother taught me:
Instead of only thinking of what you would undo if you could, try realizing that all choices can have good and bad consequences.
Yes, I could have remained with that first person who loved me. We could have spent all these years celebrating milestones and accomplishments as a couple. On the other hand, we might have separated anyway. We might have done more damage to each other had we stayed together any longer.
I could have taken a different job, or lived in different places, or done so many other things differently in my life.
But I didn't. And you know what? That's okay. It has to be. And it will be.
When I went to sleep, I felt better. When I woke up, I certainly felt better. What I hope to remember from here on out is that I will always have some sorrow, but I'm never going to give time to past regrets.
Sing it, Ella!Peace