Sunday, February 04, 2007


There’s a person who works at my hospital who has a license plate that says NORGRET, which I assume means something along the line of “no regrets.” It makes me sincerely happy to know someone is living in this world today who is in this condition, but I think, unfortunately, this person is in the minority. Most of us have many regrets, both major and minor, especially by the time reach the second half of our lives.

I think it’s pretty universal to wish for a life rewind button. Oh, the bad choices I have made - the precious time I have wasted - the stupid things I have done! Even if many things turned out all right in the end, my journey has been full of unnecessary strife and pain. Regrets? I have regrets, indeed!

Yesterday Ed and I were discussing the news story that Americans are now so far in debt that the savings rate is, for the first time ever, in the negative realm. We talked about the idea that every high school could offer a course in financial matters, from checking accounts to investments to buying a house to credit responsibilities - things many of us just learned by experience, not all of it good experience. Wouldn’t it be great if we could add more courses to the curriculum? Ethics? Manners? How to live as civilized human beings?

But at the top of my list would be wisdom.

All my life I have relied on knowledge as the most powerful tool. And I still believe that it is powerful - one reason I’m studying for my CMT exam. The reason I have regrets, however, is not that I lacked knowledge - it is that I lacked wisdom. “The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment” - one definition of wisdom. I realize that wisdom can come with age (but not necessarily), with experience (but not necessarily, as some people never learn), and with knowledge (again, not necessarily). Unfortunately, wisdom is not inherited (or I would have been all set), it is not really learned (I had remarkable teachers for other things), and it’s one of those things the Bible praises but everyone has a different idea of what it means. A lot of people think that if you agree with them, it follows that you are wise, and vice versa.

I still don’t have as much wisdom as I would like. I say things when I should keep quiet, don’t say things when I should speak up, and hurt people unintentionally. I either act before I think, or think so excessively and obsessively before I act that I am paralyzed and can’t do anything.

No, I will always have regrets, and they are ongoing. My only hope is that the scale will tip to the side of wisdom as I come nearer to completing my journey.

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