Lately I’ve been thinking about stuff I have missed out on at times in my life.
Stuff from childhood, high school, college…
Stuff from being married, from being a parent…
Stuff from being a son, a brother, a friend…
This isn’t the first time I’ve reflected back at parts of my life and thought about things I have missed out on.
One thing I realized I was missing out on was something as simple as bedtime with my kids. I mentioned before that I missed a lot of nights of tucking in my boys. Instead of helping with the bedtime routine, I let Anna-Marie do all the work. It was so much easier to let her do the work while I did my own stuff… sometimes working on other stuff downstairs, other times just watching TV, and often times just crashing on the couch downstairs after a long, stressful day of work.
Because sometimes we let our priorities get out of whack.
Because sometimes we just want to escape the world and lose our minds in a show.
Because sometimes when you come in from work at bedtime, it is easier just to crash.
Or another example…
Shopping is challenging for our family. Tobin sometimes has a hard time in stores (he is getting better and better all the time), and this often means that one of us is leaving a store with a screaming Tobin in our arms while the other rushes around throwing items in a cart to go back and help in the car. It takes a lot of work for a successful trip to the store, and it’s just so much easier for one person to stay in the car. Since Anna-Marie doesn’t really enjoy shopping, that often meant that she stayed in the car with the boys and I ran into stores for errands…
Or family and friends…
Relationships in general take a lot of work. It takes work visiting and calling and investing in other people… It’s so much easier to make an excuse instead of making the call…
Because it isn’t easy to go to hard places.
Because it isn’t easy to deal with tough situations.
Because it isn’t easy to make time for relationships with people.
As I look back at my life, many times I think I missed out on things because
it would have required work…
it would have been hard…
it would have taken time…
Or maybe it required me being vulnerable…
Or maybe it would be out of my comfort zone…
So instead of doing the work, the hard, taking the time, being vulnerable, or leaving my comfort zone…
I just missed out.
I’m learning that
sometimes the thing you are missing out on just requires you to take a step.
It may be an inconvenient step.
It may not be an easy step.
I’m learning that
sometimes you just have to make the phone call to that friend, parent, or sibling.
I’m learning that
sometimes you just gotta get off your butt and get on the floor to play with your kid.
Sometimes you just need to not worry about what someone might think of you if you open up and say that thing you’ve been wanting to say.
Reflecting on things can be a dangerous thing to do…
If you’re not careful, it can depress you, make you feel inadequate, make you feel like a failure, make you feel like you have wasted your life.
I think there is a better way to handle those missed opportunities.
Instead of sitting, thinking, or dwelling on our regrets of missing out on something,
we can use them.
Missing out or failing to do something is a part of life.
What turns it into Good is…
when we learn from it
when we adjust the decisions we make
when we change how we are spending our time and energy.
Tonight before I started writing this
I tucked in each of my boys.
I told them what I thought they needed to hear.
I prayed with them.
I listened to their hearts.
I tried feeling what they were feeling and what I could give them to make their hearts more full.
I would have missed this before.
But I’m learning…
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou
So glad you went on that road trip, we all need to do something like that! The store visits might just get to be fun, and we know God is with all of you every step, especially at bed time with those precious boys! Good for you!!!!! Maya Angelou was a pretty smart cookie!