>One of My Greatest Regrets

randomlychad  —  December 8, 2010 — 5 Comments

>Holy Spirit dovephoto © 2007 John Kroll | more info (via: Wylio)

This post began its life in the middle of the night (almost composing itself in my mind during an extended period of not-sleep) as a thank-you note to Larry Shallenberger, whom I don’t know personally, for accepting my friend request on Facebook. Larry is a pastor in the Erie, Pennsylvania area, and as a former Erie resident myself, I thought it would be cool to drop him a line (not that getting a note from me would make, or break, his day–he doesn’t know me from Adam). If I had to guess, I would say that it wasn’t on the basis of the Erie connection that he accepted my request, but by virtue of the fact that we are both “friends” with Susan Isaacs and Jeff Goins on Facebook. Susan I’m acquainted with, but with Jeff I’ve only corresponded online.
All of which is getting somewhat far afield from what I want to talk about today, but allow me one further digression: as I perused Mr. Shallenberger’s wall, I noticed a link he posted to an article of his on The Burnside Writers Collective. The article was really a sermon he had preached at his Uncle Don’s funeral. More than just a very good bit of writing, it both moved, and reminded, me of the last time I was in Pennsylvania. Which was for a funeral almost twelve years ago now. And which brings me to one of my greatest regrets.
You see, February 12th, 1999, was in all respects for me a normal day: my wife was working, and I was off. Thus I had the responsibility of caring for our then not-quite-six-month-old son. I would say it was an entirely normal day, with but one exception: I had an almost overwhelming urge, an insistent buzz in the back of my mind, to call my grandmother. This was unusual because I normally called her on Sundays. Which I’m sure is what I told myself: I’ll call her on Sunday. I got busy taking care of our son, visiting my wife at work (to nurse the baby during her lunch hour, I believe), and going to the computer store–baby in tow–to get an Intel i740-based graphics card. Sometime that afternoon, I got a call from my mom. She couldn’t tell me what it was about, that I needed to stop by her house after the baby woke up from his nap. Honestly, at that point, I’m not sure what I thought. Something seemed a little off about the phone call, so I’m sure I conjectured that it had something to do with my grandfather. He hadn’t been well, had had a series of mini-strokes, or T.I.A. If there was anything wrong, it was probably to do with him. I was wrong.
When I got to my mom’s place late that afternoon, I noticed my wife had preceded me. When my wife came outside, I noticed she had been crying. When I asked her what was wrong, I think she told me that I would have to ask my mother. Stranger still, when we got inside the house, I noticed that my mom had been crying. While not necessarily being prepared, but nevertheless expecting it somewhat, I asked if it was grandpa (mom’s dad), had something happened to him? She said no, that it was grandma–grandma was gone. This I wasn’t prepared for. I was stunned into silence. I’m not sure what went through my head in that moment, but I know this: I was mad–first at myself, then at God. This was some cruel irony: grandma was grandpa’s caretaker. To be told that–a woman with such a large heart–her heart had given out was unbelievable. Why hadn’t I called her? Why had God taken her? I had prayed for years–selfishly, yes–that both she and granddad would abide until Jesus returned. But that wasn’t to be. In my heart, I cursed God’s cruelty. Why take her? What would happen to grandpa? It didn’t make sense. It wasn’t until years later that I realized what a mercy it was (but that is a story for another day).
I blamed God for my neglect, for it was in His mercy that I now believe that He prompted me–by way of the Holy Spirit–to make a call that morning. A call that I didn’t make it. So one of my greatest regrets is actually two-fold: I didn’t listen to God (which I of course have failed to do numerous times since), and I didn’t take the opportunity to call my grandmother one last time before she stepped into eternity. Mea culpa, not God’s.
What are some of your greatest regrets, and how has God met you in them? How has He been merciful, ministered to you, in the midst of your anger towards Him?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • I know Larry from afar as well and think the world of Susan. What I love about the web is how accessible to makes people — whether you're famous or not. The fact that everyone has a voice and a platform sort of levels the playing field for everyone, which can be very cool.
    My recent post The Real John Lennon- Artist or Entertainer

    • Truly! It's been an interesting, wild ride thus far. The Lord has done some pretty awesome things--among them connecting with you here on the “intarwebs.” Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • I regret how I handled some early relationships--how they ended and such. But I'm married to a beautiful, compassionate woman now--so It all worked out.
    My recent post No Child Left Behind

    • Thanks for sharing, Matt! Isn't it awesome how God redeems our regrets? He's the God 2nd, 3rd, 50th, & 999th chances!I alluded to it being a mercy that He took my grandma when He did--and it was. Some family shenanigans took place that would've broken her heart. Thanks for reading & commenting!

  • Haahhhaa. I’m not too bright today. Great post!