How did I get here?
You might find yourself living in a shotgun shack.
You might find yourself in another part of the world.
You might find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.
You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, ‘well, how did I get here?’
You might ask yourself, ‘what is that beautiful house?’
You might ask yourself, ‘where does that highway go to?’
You might ask yourself, ‘am I right or am I wrong?’
You might say to yourself, ‘my God, what have I done?’
- From Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
We are doing a five-week series on this blog on the various “connections” we experience that draw us back onto the path to God. Last week, we talked about reconnecting to our longings. Today, it’s a connection to our regrets.
Regret can be a gift. It doesn’t feel like it at the time, but it is the feeling that tells us and often moves us to create change. Regret can take many forms, from financial, to relational, to missing an opportunity or reacting rashly. Our regret is what we feel when we are not where we belong.
When I was a kid and I used to play in the woods, we used to start on certain paths and then find little-used paths, it was not uncommon for us to stray from one of these paths without knowing it. It didn’t matter too much to us until we found our feet stuck in the mud, and our shoes caked with dark, wet soil. “Hopefully, mom wouldn’t notice…”(she always did).
Sometimes, we drift from the path and it takes the consequences of our actions to awaken us to our dependence on our self, our selfishness, and our sin. We, with David Byrne and The Talking Heads, ask ourselves, “Well, how did I get here?”
The Bible tells a story of a man who awakened to regret, likely wondering, “how did I get here?” The prodigal son was looking across the barn and noticed the food that was being given to the pigs—it looked good to him. That was the moment that he awoke and regretted what he had done and where he had been.
The regret moved him to act. He considered the character of his father and expected that he could get treated better by him than his current situation. He made a plan based on what he knew of his father, and after he decided to act, he returned to the father, asking for a job.
It turns out that he didn’t know his father very well. His father rushed to him and hugged him, celebrated him and welcomed him home. Regret, above all things, is designed to lead us home into the arms of a loving father. The son traded pig food, for party food. Wherever you are, whatever your regret you feel, let it lead you open into the loving, forgiving, transforming arms of your Father.