by Terri Wagner
I see these posts popping up on Facebook quite a bit. A challenge if you will of noting each day of November something you are grateful for. It's a terrific idea. I feel sure most of us can make the first say 15 days but after that it gets a bit harder. You become more reflective. One person last year decided at the end of November that they actually had no regrets because each failure, each disappointment, each cruel situation made them a better person. I have never understood that philosophy. I have regrets. Things I never did but wished I had, and things I did I wished I had not. I do not believe I am a better person for having lived through those times, just a different person. So am I grateful for bad experiences, perhaps especially those I brought on myself? No, honestly, I wish I had missed those experiences.
Mostly I sit in literal amazement that the foolish things I did did not in fact end worse. Once for no particular reason at all a friend and I switched driving positions going down the Interstate at over 70mph. We survived, but did not repeat the idiocy. It was years before I realized what we so easily escaped. Once in a misguided effort to protect a mom who had a child in her car with a busted out back window on a long bridge going 70mph I pulled behind her and kept a close distance so no one else could jump in front of me and cause an accident. She did not appreciate or understand my desire to keep her from being run down since she was going much slower. Was I wrong? I scared her instead of helping her. I regret that.
On the other hand, I have had some wonderful experiences I definitely would not trade out. Visiting Yorktown for the first was like a sacred experience. Feelings of gratitude for that ragtag band that stood so firm against the British and won the right to be a country. I still feel those things when I visit there. The time I was on a date with a car mechanic and he stopped to help a family in trouble. Our date was blown, our assistance made up for that. A time my friend and I managed to lock her still running car in the Blue Ridge campground, only to discover that car keys are only so many for a car and exact matches can turn up in unexpected places. There are so many times my guardian angel watched out for me. So there are many things I am glad I experienced.
But the really bad ones...nope I prefer to have skipped them. It is not a matter of learning the bitter from the sweet, more a matter of what I could have had had I listened vs. what I got because I did not obey. So am I grateful for bad experiences...no! Am I grateful for good experiences...yes. Would I trade some of those bad ones...you betcha!