(16) P.A.I.N. through Regret

It was Christmas day. 

I looked out the window to see a flock of pelicans scattered across the snow-covered front yard.  Pras, Nell, and my twins had taken the collection of plastic pelicans from the garage and were now sticking every single one of them in the ground around the house.  Over the summer my family had used these sixty pelicans to celebrate my parent’s birthday-now, however, they found themselves taking a stroll in a winter wonderland.  

Behind me, the sound of wooden-alphabet-blocks being played with filled my ears.  Lauryn and my youngest son had come inside to get warm.  I had come with them.  

Lauryn was now helping my son spell his full name with the blocks.  Seeing it spelled out in front of her I watched her ask him how many letters were in each part of his name.  Answering her question, he said cutely, “Six…six…six.”  At that moment, Lauryn looked up to me with shocked fear in her eyes.  I simply shook my head at her, and we both laughed at something that my son could not have understood.  

Looking back at the kitchen counter, the mess I would have to clean up did not discourage me.   Earlier on, all the kids (students included) had combined various soda drinks and juices to make their own version of “moonshine.”  Something Nel had taught my boys about, saying, “Back when alcohol was illegal, people made their own in their homes… they called it ‘moonshine’.”

We had all taken little plastic cups full of this ‘moonshine’ with us when we first went outside.  Standing in a circle, we all dripped a sip on the concrete, “for the deceased,” we said together.   While we did not tell my kids who we had done this for, the students and I looked at one another at that moment and said a silent prayer to the universe for the student that should have been there with us.  

My three boys found hanging out with my students fascinating.  Perhaps my kids were being exposed to knowledge beyond their years, but seeing high school kids act like children made it all okay with me. 

Today, the serious business of growing-up was put on hold…and I could not have been more grateful.  We had all been through a lot, so I was making sure to cherish the memories that were being made right in front of me.  The only worry I had right now was how much popcorn to make, as we were all about to watch the new movie just released on DisneyPlus, ‘Soul’;  It seemed like a fitting choice…

……………

Week 16- (12.25.20) – “P.A.I.N. through Regret”

Make no mistake about it, my life is no love story.  The truth is that I am not yet forty and I have already been divorced twice.  The first was my choice, the second was not.  Both of them were undeniably my fault.

Regret (and guilt), when it comes to love, has been a constant throughout my entire adulthood.  To be honest, I am so cynical over it that I often question if ‘true love’ really exists.  Nowadays, I am more likely to believe that a promise of forever is simply a mutually agreed upon lie.  A sad way to think, I know.

This probably sounds strange coming from the person that has told you how important love is in recovery.  If you forgot, maybe now is a good time to go back and re-read some of our weekly articles/stories/lessons?

You will want to catch up, seeing that we now only have a few weeks together to finish this transformation of ours (sigh/sad face).  

With so little time left, why I chose to talk about my failed relationships is anyone’s guess.  Maybe there is purpose behind it?  Maybe I do it for selfish reasons??  Who knows???

For now, let’s not think about it and get this class back on track…

I could talk forever about regret (and guilt).  As most of you probably could.  But we don’t have forever, so, what should we talk about?

Well…love and money are two things that are often discussed when it comes to these emotions.  Since I have already told you about my experiences with love, let me give you a quick example of regret as it refers to money for me…

On Friday, March 14th, 2008, I bought ten thousand dollars’ worth of Bear Sterns stock.  At twenty-six years old, this sum of money was a result of countless hours of physical labor I had done over the years.  By Monday, all that hard-earned money was gone.  The company went bankrupt.  This event literally marked the beginning of the market crash that year, and I was smacked in the face by it just like so many others across the globe.  That unfortunate investment/gamble of mine is just one of many things that I regret in my life-and is something you all will someday be able to relate to as you make your own mistakes with money down the road…   

I’m going to stop there, however.  As trying to create a list of all of my regrets in life would be pointless (not to mention depressing).  Because, honestly, who cares?  

Instead, I want to use our time together to have a necessary philosophical discussion with you if I could…

As we approach the end of this course, I must remind you that throughout this journey we have been on I have tried my best to be honest with you.  Despite some of the things you now know about me, deep down I always believed that-in my heart- I was a good person.  Things I have done have forced me to question this many times however.

When we look at the world today, I believe a similar feeling can stir within all of us.  We have all seen the ‘good’ this world has to offer.  Even if you have only experienced seeing it on a screen, we know that wonderful things and wonderful people do exist (Have you heard that MacKenzie Scott gave away 4.2 BILLION DOLLARS in just four months!?!).

Unfortunately, there is no denying that awful things are happening everywhere we look.  Most of us paying attention want to believe that “good will win out.”  But there comes a point when even the most optimistic amongst us has to wonder… “How will it get better?”

You know by now that I do not like to force my opinions on you.  This is not the time or place for me to tell you how I think it will get better anyway.  So instead, I will try and explain where I think we are at this moment in history.

Personally, I think the world is currently experiencing a period defined by regret.  Things have changed so rapidly that we are questioning all the things that have brought us to where we are today.  

Well, how do we often deal with these emotions?

We fight them.

We fight with our feelings.  We fight with our beliefs.  We fight with whatever we can to avoid accepting things the way they are.  That is the process.  We are all simply watching it play out right now on a global scale.  

Like always, I cannot offer a solution to the predicament we are in…I’m just a teacher.  But, if the world was a person, this is where I would tell it to remember my three tips to survival; 1) Ask Questions, 2) Be Patient, and 3) Have Faith.  Who knows, the miracle this world needs may be tip toeing behind us as we speak.  Don’t give up before we found out what it is!

Which brings me back to love.

I can understand if you don’t believe in miracles.  Like I started this article by telling you, I don’t know if I believe in love like some people do.  There was nothing in my life that made me believe that ‘true love’ was a real thing.  Infatuation, yes.  Lust, yes.  Co-dependency, absolutely.  But LOVE, I just don’t know?

I’d need to see it to believe it.

Well, as luck would have it, in the process of writing one of these lessons a few weeks ago I stopped working to take my youngest son out for an ice-cream.  It was a rainy, cold day; not ideal to make a trip for an icy treat…but he wanted it, and I wanted to get out of my head, so we went.  

That is where I saw her.  Her son was with her in line and we all talked while trying to stay warm (my own son had stayed in the car because he refused to put on his mask).  She was pretty- yes- in a very unintimidating kind of way.  But over just a few minutes I could tell she was kind…and gentle…and perhaps a little insecure as well (just like me).  

In the process of listening to her, I could not help but look down and notice that she did not wear a wedding ring.  I started to wonder…what if….

The thought tickled my mind.

“Girl…you look delicious….” the only pick-up line I could think of from the Disney movie I had watched the night before danced in my head.  “Probably not the best thing to say…” I silently told myself (even if her son was not right there).

Fighting off the temptation to say this to her I struggled to find the right words.  She looked like someone famous…who was it?  … I could not figure it out.  What can I say?  Do I ask if she’s single? … How do I do this?  What is her son gonna think?  Will I look like a jerk?

Unfortunately, I could not think of what to say.  

Driving home; with ice cream on the seat beside me, her smile had my mind spinning.  Is there any way I can find her on Facebook?  Did she say anything about where she lived??  Would I ever see her again??? 

Perhaps it was the fear of losing her that helped me realize who she reminded me of… 

It was all I needed to convince myself that this was the girl for me.  She looked just like my celebrity crush, and I would use that fact to ask for her number.  “This is going to work!” I thought as I turned my car around to go back and tell her. 

Her and her son had gotten into a black-KIA-SUV.  Pulling up beside it, through the falling rain, I rolled down my window.  She smiled and rolled down hers interested to find out why I had driven back…..“You look like Emma Watson.” 

This is how the encounter was going to play out.  This is what went through my head as I drove back to find her.  Sadley, she was gone by the time I got back to the parking lot.  I was devastated having just built up the courage to give it a shot….I was back on empty.

Maybe it was not meant to be?  Maybe it was just meant to teach me a lesson??  Maybe…

The thought of what could have been stuck with me long after.  How she made me feel was unexplainable to someone that no longer believed in love.  The experience forced me to question my beliefs on the topic completely.

As we head into a new year, my hope for those of you that no longer believe in miracles is that something unexpected happens in your life in 2021.  Something that makes you wonder, “What If?”

It is a great feeling that I hope to be able to one-day share with you. 

Week 16- Question for Reflection:  

Do you believe in miracles?

(Click here to continue to next chapter of the journey)

Music for Transcending Minds:  

“I’m gonna make you see…”

Give In to Me with Garret Hedlund & Leighton Meester

Follow us on Facebook: @SocialRecovery101
Read our story at: RecoveryHighSchool.com

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