I used to live in a house with 6 other college girls. Three of them were named Erin. It was awesome. And yes, they did sing their names as a chord, arpeggiating the triad from the bottom up. Wait, did that really happen?! That is too awesome for words.
All three Erins emailed after my last post to say “that sucks” and “I’m praying.” One Erin sent me a link to another blog talking about how that trite phrase God won’t give you more than you can handle is a load of crap. I couldn’t agree more. If you don’t believe me, you should read the other post. He said it better than I could have anyway.
You know what else I think is a sad, misleading idea that gets tossed around a lot? “Live life with no regrets.” Yes, I think it’s a fabulous idea to live the best life you can and go after good things that might seem intimidating or difficult to attain. Unfortunately, when you take a big idea that needs clarification and boil it down to a cute sentence that fits neatly on a facebook meme, people tend to drag that idea off into various dark corners.
“No regrets” should not mean:
- As long as I meant it in the moment, it’s okay. Authenticity trumps all, including compassion and wisdom.
- Whatever bad has happened in my past made me who I am today, and I should like everything about me. Therefore, everything bad is good. I’d choose it again.
- Apology? What’s that?
How do I know people take a seemingly well-intentioned phrase and extrapolate such nightmarish conclusions? Because my freshman students said all of the above in a conversation we had yesterday. Are they sitting in an alternative school as a result of these attitudes? Do many people have these ideas running through their heads? Were they taught this explicitly by family or culture-at-large? I’d really love to know.
To my way of thinking, the worst outcome of this approach to “no regrets” is that ultimately, it tells me I can do no wrong. Sin doesn’t really exist for me, and there is no need for me to feel anguish over hurting someone else.
“So, you’ve never said something to your mom and felt bad later that you hurt her feelings?” I asked them.
“No, because I meant it in the moment, so it is what it is,” replied one of my kids.
Pretty much all of the responses ran in that vein. I had to remind myself that most of them talk out both sides of their mouths as a general rule, but…
Does that scare you? It kind of did me.