By Gary Miller
“Regrets, I’ve had a few but then again too few to mention." Do you remember that lyric; or maybe you can remember the old crooner himself sing that song. I think it was Frank Sinatra. To be honest, that’s a little before my time. There’s one thing, however, that is classic for all of us, and that is regrets. Hunters and fishermen can tell story after story with the theme of regret either announced or subtly hidden in the story. Regrets from hunters or fishermen may come from impatience, faulty or unchecked equipment, or just wishing that you had not passed on that one particular buck. Many times these regrets come from ignorance. We say, “If I had only known." Knowing comes from knowledge and to lack knowledge means that we are ignorant. “If I had only known that I wouldn’t see another deer;” “If I had only known that buck would come from my blind side;” “If I had only known the four pounds of bass I caught would have put me in the money." Ah, yes, if we had only known we wouldn’t have so much regret.
Unfortunately, regrets are not limited to the outdoors. They surface in far more significant areas and can linger longer than we want them to. And the older we get, the more they can pile up as well. I’ve heard many people pridefully proclaim that they have no regrets. Frankly, unless they are 14 years old, I don’t believe them. We’ve all screwed up in some way where we wished we could take that moment back. There are some, however, who are overcome with regret. They get up in the morning and go to bed at night thinking about the “what ifs.” They seem to be unable to put the past behind them. And that is the real issue. You see, regret always deals with the past. We cannot regret the present or the future, only the past. Therefore, regret cannot be changed. And if it can’t be changed we must learn to move on. Paul, the writer of the book of Philippians in the Bible, had lots of regrets but he determined to get past them this way. He said, “…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14). He understood two things – that the past cannot be changed and that God has a plan for his life that is still ahead. My friend, if you will do those same things Paul did, you too will move past regret.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at Gary@outdoortruths.org.