"I got a lot to regret about my life." Mrs. Extremist and I went to The Moviehouse & Eatery this evening to see The Glass Castle, which was a painful experience in more ways than one. My left glute was killing me after sitting in those wonderful reclining sets they put us in, and Woody Harrelson was amazing in that movie as Rex Walls. He should get some kind of award for that role, it was intense.
But with all the family drama, what just nailed me was when a bed-ridden Harrelson, dying from 50 years of hard living, says to his daughter Rose Mary, played by Naomi Watts, "I got a lot to regret about my life." That line punched me in the gut. It got me thinking about the things I regret in my life, and how I was as a father and still can be as a husband. Now, don’t get me wrong, we had nowhere near that kind of drama in my family, both as a kid and as a husband and a father. But I have a lot that I regret, for sure.
I also remember when my father, after narrowly surviving a massive heart attack in the late 1980’s, went through a particularly introspective time. One day, a couple of years later, he asked me if he had ruined my life with all the moving we did, both domestically and overseas, as he pursued his career in the oil business. When I told him no, that I felt privileged to have had a chance to live a "National Geographic" lifestyle, he was visibly relieved. Apparently he has his regrets as well.
I think all dads and husbands have "a lot to regret about my life". It just comes with the job. It sneaks up on you in quiet moments, and when you see it portrayed in a movie, or when you your grown "kid" says something to you, not accusing you of anything, but it brings up history. It might not be something major, but if you care at all, and we all do, even though we try not to show it, you feel it, a pang of regret. It goes away, as you realize your kids love you, and they are succeeding because of you (or despite you), but there it is.
I have a lot to be thankful for. I am providentially blessed in more ways than I know. God has rained more grace on me than I can understand, for reasons that are his alone, and I am so very grateful. But I am a man, a husband, a father (and a grandfather), and there are so many things I should have done better, so many things I said or didn’t say, so many times I was just a man, and not The Man. Some people might say it’s the Accuser, but I think it is God, keeping me humble and helping me to see that I can never be The Man, only a man. Regret can be sweet that way.
"I got a lot to regret about my life". Thank God.