Saturday, December 1, 2012

What Would You Change?

On November 27, I asked my readers to submit questions for me to answer. This post is to answer the question posed by Good Youngman Brown.
How do you feel about death/dying?

If you died this very second, what would be your biggest regret? Biggest success?

These are some deep questions and I am not sure that I have the answers to the second part even after days of careful reflection, but I will try. Let's tackle these one at a time.

I am not scared of dying. Not even a little bit. I know a lot of people say this and I can't speak for them, but I mean it. I may be scared of certain ways of dying. I obviously would be terrified of being slowly swallowed by an anaconda or being trapped in a burning building, but it is the pain associated with that kind of death that would scare me. The death itself does not scare me

I don't bring up my faith on this blog very often, but this question goes right to the heart of it. I know without any doubt what I will be doing after death and it is nothing to fear. I have given my life over to Jesus and declared him as my Lord (Boss). Through following him I have been forgiven of my sins (there have been a lot) against God and other people. Being cleansed of my sin, I can stand in the presence of God in the place He created for me. I am not on a suicide mission, but I can't wait to get there.

That question was the easy part. The second half is the portion I have really struggled with.

REGRETS
  • I hate that I have been divorced twice. I despise that as being part of my past. I wouldn't want to just write the past off, but there are many, many regrets associated it. My first marriage was a five month long nightmare that should never have happened. My second was happier at times, but was filled with mistakes, dishonesty, lack of trust and hurtful words on both sides. I have many regrets tied to the entire experience.
  • I often reflect on the fact that I am over 40 years old and never gotten my act together career-wise. I have jumped from job to job my entire life and haven't gotten anywhere. I believe that I've finally found my focus and am on track for the first time in my life, but due to past experience I have little confidence that I will stick with it.
  • This one is more reflective contemplation than regret, but I look back at how I raised my kids almost daily. Did I do a good job? Did I spend enough time with them? Were they aware of how much I loved them? Despite the turmoil of my marriage, did we provide a happy home? Have I provided them with the tools they will need to survive in the real world? Was I supportive of their dreams or did I crush their spirits? Did I provide the proper balance of discipline? Was I too lenient? Did I mold them into happy, productive, functioning members of the adult world? These are tough questions.

SUCCESSES
  • I am proud that I finally completed my degree. I didn't get that piece of paper in my hand until 14 years after I started it, but I got it.
  • I am happy that despite whatever other mistakes I have made with my children, they are happy and know how to enjoy life. I am a very positive and happy person and I love that it seems to have rubbed off on them. Their lives will be much easier simply because of that positive attitude.
  • My proudest accomplishment is in knowing that my children love the Lord and their eternities have been secured. The most important decision that could be made in their entire lives is already behind them and nothing else matters nearly as much. If I were to die today, that part has been taken care of and we will all see each other again.

This was a hard post to write and I was choked up through most of it, but self-reflection is a good thing. Thank you, Youngman Brown for the questions.

17 comments:

  1. This was one of my favorite posts of yours, even though I of course love your funny ones.

    I love that you didn't soft peddle it when talking about your faith...you just put it right out there.

    As far as the regrets, you know that everything that has happened in your life has brought you to this point, to the person that you are, and I think all of your readers, and Red, would agree that that is a pretty fantastic person. I wouldn't be happy about divorce, either, if I was in that boat, but it sure wouldn't have been better to have stayed in either relationship.

    And it doesn't matter if you are 40 and haven't solidified your career. It matters where you are headed. Just the fact that you have dedicated yourself to posting daily like you have for the last two months shows that you have what it takes to stick to something for the long haul.

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    1. Thank you. That's one of those life quandries. Yes, I have regrets that I would love to take back, but I also like where I am now. I am not suggesting that I would like my present to be different, but would love to change the past. I know it doesn't work that way.

      Hopefully, I have the future figured out as far as my career path is concerned.

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  2. You were very transparent. Kudos to you. It helps me understand you better. Your greatest accomplishment has been as a father. As a mother figure, I have wanted to shake you at times because I see your potential and was afraid you weren't living up to it (I sound like a teacher, don't I? You will say that to your students someday.) You really do have many gifts. But I am starting to see that you will eventually get there -- your own way, of course. But you will get there.

    P.S. If I were to answer those questions, I would have to write a book, but the Successes chapter would be about two sentences long.

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  3. People make mistakes, and mistakes make us who we are. I am not perfect, but if I were perfect, how boring would that be! I love you for all of you, successes, regrets, and all.

    From everything I've seen, you ARE a great father. And I think the determination you have now will help carry you through your newly chosen career. I love being with you on the journey of whatever happens!

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    1. You actually weren't supposed to see this. I wanted you to hold on to the idea that I was perfect for as long as possible.

      Thank you. I think the parenting questions haunt every parent. I am excited to see what the future holds.

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  4. Sometimes career decisions made at a young age are for the wrong reasons and somewhere down the road you find yourself dissatisfied and disappointed. You have always jumped in to everything with your whole heart and take is what matters. All those experiences have built a strong work ethic and a wide area of expertise. Be proud of what you have accomplished. You have raised two awesome children. And believe me, every parent questions whether they could have done better or things differently. You were always there for them and that is what counts. I know the Lord looks down and says "well done, good and faithful servant."

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    1. Thank you, Mom.

      These aren't things that keep me up at night, but are the answers to the questions I was asked. I know the post sounds depressing, but I am fine. Either way, your response did make me feel good. Thank you. I love you, Mom.

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  5. This was an incredible post. Even though you have the regrets, I'm amazed by your thought process and how you feel about these subjects. Death is typically a scary subject, but you're just so calm about it (so long as you're not going to be eaten by a giant snake), that it kind of shocks me. My respect for you seriously went like ten fold because of this post.

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    1. Thank you. Most people have regrets and they are what they are.

      Death is not scary, it's just the mode of getting there that could be a problem.

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  6. Like you, my answers to both of these questions would center on my son. I don't think we ever graduate from being a parent.

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    1. It's amazing how much having kids changes your perspective on everything. Even though they are practically grown, they still dominate much of my thought process.

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  7. I would note one of your successes would be being interesting yet humble. Careers are over rated, and are only interesting to people in a similar career.

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    1. Our jobs don't define who we are, only how we pay the bills

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    2. I have to agree. Although, I am not looking for a career to define who I am, but to just start making some actual money to do the things I really want to do. Which I probably wouldn't be able to do anyway once I have a regular job. But it's not really about the money either.

      It's a catch-22. Catch-22 Is that supposed to be capitalized?

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  8. The divorce thing happens, and I don't know if you should consider it a regret, as long as you learned from any mistakes that might have happened.

    Just because you didn't "get your act together" career-wise, it doesn't mean that your act wasn't together. I actually want to do many different jobs throughout my life because one career would simply be too boring.

    And I can't speak from experience, but I think that every parent wonders the same things you do.

    Congrats on all of the successes, and thanks for the honest responses!

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    1. Oh, I definitely learned some things.

      I've heard from several parents who say they struggle with all the same questions. It's just part of it, I guess.

      Thanks for the questions.

      Delete

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