Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

Take my advice, bury your regret

We all have regret. We said the wrong thing at the wrong time. We hurt a friend. We missed an opportunity. There are things in our past we would erase, if we could.

There is only one thing you can do with that regret—bury it.

Photo Credit Bhowmik Shah (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit Bhowmik Shah (Creative Commons)

This week I wrote about living a life without regret. Truth is, we can’t make it from birth to death without doing, saying, choosing something regrettable. So what do we do with our collection of regret? Bury it. But where?

You can bury it deep inside

Many of us choose to bury our regret deep down inside of ourselves. We dig a hole and hide the padlocked box somewhere in the recesses of our heart and try to move on. Sometimes we medicate. Sometimes we distract ourselves. Sometimes we hope time will heal all wounds.

This works for a while.

Our minds are capable of operating in some seriously stressful situations. Our memory is selective. We suppress and move on. Then, one day, regret creeps up from the crypt like a putrid smell from the sewer. We stagger from the odor. We say, “I thought I’d dealt with that!” And then, we often make other regrettable choices in an attempt to re-bury our past.

[tweet_quote]You can’t bury your regrets deep enough inside of yourself to avoid them forever. [/tweet_quote]They poison our soul-soil like salt sown into a field. They prevent life from taking root. They don’t weaken with time, they grow bolder. And eventually, they make their way to the surface.

You can bury it in others

Some of us, afraid to bury regret inside of ourselves, find a way to bury it in others. This is called blame. We anchor our regret in the faulty choice, action, attitude of another. We place the burden on them so we won’t have to carry it ourselves.

But we can’t escape regret so easily.

Regret blamed on others becomes anger. And angry people are not free.

In our attempt to free ourselves of regret we poison our relationships and strengthen regret’s power. We nurture regret through anger. It takes root in our hearts. It becomes our master. It blinds us to reality.

Blame spreads like a virus. Anger multiplies when nurtured. Regret gives birth to more regret. Repeat cycle.

So if we cannot bury our regret in ourselves or in others, how can we get rid of it?

You can bury it forever

I’ve found a place to bury my regret where it won’t poison the soil of my soul. I can bury it without blame or anger. I can bury it and move on.

I bury my regret in a 2,000 year old tomb in Palestine.

Tombs hold death. But this grave erupted with life.
Tombs represent the end. But this grave was a new beginning.
Tombs project sadness. But this grave brought joy to people around the world.

I have my share of regret. But I know what to do with it.

I give my regret to the One who died on that Good Friday hill, who was buried behind the stone, and who came back to life on Easter morning. I bury my regret with him. He exchanges it for life.

[tweet_quote hashtags=”#Easter” ]This is the miracle of Easter morning—life in exchange for death.[/tweet_quote] And not just any kind of life. A life with no regrets.

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