“Regrets are a waste of time, they are the past crippling you in the present”, this was a line from the movie, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. I love this saying!
I had many regrets; things I wish I had said to people, things I wish I hadn’t said to people, actions I should have taken, actions I should not have taken. But we can’t go back and undo anything – we can ask forgiveness and hope that those offended by our words or behavior will not only forgive, but also forget. Inevitably, we are left with regrets. And the weight of that can be crippling and keeping you from living like you should in the present!
We have got to stop looking back and stay focused on the present and the future! Since we can’t change the past we can decide to live better in the future, especially with all that we learn from our mistakes. Remember, regrets are a waste of time, they are the past crippling us in the present! Move on – you’ve got some living to do, and by all means have fun doing it!
It was 1990 and my 2 year old daughter’s first plane trip! We were going to my cousin’s wedding in Iowa. There were going to be many family members from my mom’s side that she had never met. After changing planes 3 times we finally made it! Out of all the relatives, I was very much looking forward to seeing my grandmother! My grandmother had never met her great-granddaughter!
I have very fond memories of my grandma, she and grandpa were the ones that housed us in their nostalgic basement when we visited for reunions. I remember the wonderful, mouth-watering smells of her making apple butter! I loved talking to her, and the stories she’d tell. I also loved to hear her laugh, it was quite contagious! I was named after her, Anne Bennett, “Anne” means grace, and my grandmother’s maiden name was, Grace Bennett.
She and grandpa came to Florida to visit in the winters and they would stay in either trailer parks, or a downtown hotel for extended stays. They usually would visit for about a month or two. It was so much fun having them nearby! I can still remember in the evenings my mom and her laughing while making dinner. And boy could she cook!
It had been way too long since I had seen her. I wrote her often, but she was now living in an assisted living facility, and I had lost touch with her. Needless to say, I wanted her to meet her great-granddaughter.
My aunt took us up to see her and she warned that my grandma was quite forgetful. As soon as we stepped into her room, I was instantly reminded of her home in Burlington! (The facility let them furnish the rooms with their own furniture) It even smelled the same to me! I rushed over and hugged her so tight! She didn’t remember me at first. My aunt kept saying, “it’s Anne B Nancy’s daughter”, now my mom (her daughter) had been deceased for about 13 years, so I could understand her not knowing who Nancy was, much less who Nancy’s daughter was!
Finally it clicked! Her whole countenance changed, and I could see I had my same grandma back again! She was so sweet and loving and absolutely loved seeing my daughter! Then out of nowhere, she wanted to write me a check! What?! “I don’t need a check grandma I just came up to see you”! “No, no, I want to write you a check for Christmas for everyone”. My aunt said to take it, so I reluctantly did. My aunt explained they had to watch her, because they didn’t know who all she had offered to write a check to!
She took us on a tour of the facility. She made sure to show us where she played Bingo, and the Thrift Store where they could exchange their winnings for “stuff”. Regardless of memory loss, some things never leave you! When we got back to the room she showed me her closet that was filled from floor to ceiling with her Thrift Store finds!
You see, one of my grandma’s wonderful traits was to seek out really good deals! I can vividly recall during their 50th wedding celebration, my mom, grandma, and others all went to an estate sale, and came back with all kinds of furniture, including an old buffet. I’m not sure of any other details about the deal on this buffet, but I remember watching them from the pool at the Holiday Inn (I was swimming with my cousins there were 15 of us!). That buffet is in my house now it is the only material object I chose to keep of my mom and grandma. But I do have their sense of humor and the ability to seek out bargains!
“Let me write you a check”, she said again and again, forgetting that she had already written me one. Even though this was the last time I’d see her, there were no sad last goodbyes, no drawn out sad words, only these, “Let me write you a check”!
“LIFE IS NOT ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS, ITS ABOUT LEARNING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN”
I saw those words painted on a piece of wood in a shop recently. There was no author mentioned, but I can tell you the person who penned those words had suffered much to gain this realization. How true it is that we cannot sanely wait for the storms of our lives to pass – it may take weeks, months, years! While we must go through the suffering and agony of terminal illness, death of loved ones, separation, divorce, job loss, teenage rebellion, etc. we must learn to dance in the rain!
Ive been through quite a few storms in my own life, and Ive realized that laughter can make the trying times bearable. I remember coming home from school and laying in bed next to my mom,( who was dying of cancer), and laughing together about the silly stuff that went on at school that day. She knew about dancing in the rain, she loved a good laugh and was often seen throwing her head back in laughter! We werent making light of her situation, we were simply taking the focus off her impending death, and enjoying a good laugh! It does the heart good!
Through our storm of financial struggles, we have found ways to dance in the rain. In our college years weve gone so far as to move the copy machines in the library to gather up the change that fell to the floor – then use that money to by Jamocha shakes from Arbys! Weve gone into a Pizza Hut to see if theyd sell us 1 slice of pizza, and while waiting we noticed a family leaving half of a pizza on the table – so we (being college students), quickly grabbed up the pizza and ate it ourselves, while only ordering water to drink. The waitress was glad she didnt have to throw out the pizza! In our married life we waited to go see a minor league baseball game until the Get in Free and Hot Dog Free Night occured. Dinner and entertainment for the whole family, FREE! Weve chosen to dance instead of sit and feel sorry for ourselves – nothing gets accomplished that way!
Even in the storms that relationships can bring, and some of these storms can be lengthy, remember to dance! Treat the other person with the utmost respect – even if they dont deserve it. Be forgiving and ask for forgiveness. We are all suffering with one storm or another, and there will be more to come – so be flexible and resilient. Naomi Judd wrote a little book called, The Transparent Life , I highly recommend this book!
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain! Get good at dancing!
Two things to avoid during marriage – remodeling your kitchen and building your own home. They will try your patience! We unknowingly tackled both of these in the matter of two years! I say unknowingly because neither of us knew at the time we started remodeling our kitchen, that we would soon be selling that house and be moving to another state to build our own home.
The kitchen remodel occurred in our first home that was built in 1901. So you can imagine the structural issues we encountered. The entire kitchen was gutted out from floor to ceiling, not to mention the total removal of one wall in order to enlarge the space. We had unlevel floors and a sagging ceiling to tend with, along with redirecting the plumbing. The project that we figured would only take us a couple of months ended up lasting five months. You see, even though your husband may be in construction, that doesnt mean your house will get worked on first!
We separated the opening from the kitchen to the rest of the house with heavy plastic in hopes that the unrelenting dust would stay out of the main house. Didnt happen. Our dining room became the kitchen. We kept the refrigerator in the corner, and the dining room table served as the kitchen counters. The crock pot became our stove and oven all in one. The water source was our bathroom sink and the garden hose outside. We were basically camping! Which reminded me of what I had told my husband when we first married – I dont care where we live, I could live in a tent with you! That statement was so true! I love him and could live in a tent with him! I had to stop all my sarcasm and complaints. It was time I became a helpmate to him, in word and deed! Once I fully acted on this, the entire job went so much smoother.
We only got to enjoy the fruits of our labor for about 3 months before we moved and eventually sold the house. The kitchen remodel was a huge selling feature and helped us get top dollar. It also made our marriage stronger. We got to once again see each other at their worst, and at the end of the day laugh at ourselves for our stupidity!
The building of our own home had many adventures in and of itself! I should probably write a book. After all the back-breaking labor, from the installation of the many windows and doors to the installation of all the wood flooring (a very large home with more square feet of wood flooring than I care to think about), to the sanding, priming and painting of all the interior walls I can honestly say that it strengthened our marriage once again! All struggles make us stronger and wiser! And yes, I could still live in a tent with him!