You’d hate the song, too, if it had happened to you.
It was 1978, and I was working Saturdays as a DJ at a country-western station outside of Boston while holding down a full-time weekday job in the city.
The radio station was so low-budget (why do you think they hired me?) that once the receptionist left at noon, I was the sole employee in the entire place.
One memorable Saturday, I cued up Elvis Presley’s extended version of “My Way” in the basement studio and ran up two flights of stairs to the Necessary Room at the top, which conveniently had a speaker so the DJ could monitor what was going out over the airwaves while, uh, taking care of business.
In those days there were no such things as digital recordings or CDs. We relied on LPs with all their quirks, including an annoying habit of skipping when they’d been played once too often. I had no more than shut the bathroom door when to my horror I heard Elvis stuttering on the phrase, “Regrets, I’ve got a few…a few..a few..”
I charged out the door and hurtled down the stairs but tripped on the last flight, tumbling head over heels into the studio. By the time I yanked Elvis off the turntable the radio switchboard was lighting up, with the most irate caller being the manager who paid my salary.
As for regrets, I’ve got a few too.
How about you?
When celebrities or star athletes boast in interviews that they don’t have remorse about anything in their past because “it made them who they are,” I can’t resist an eye-roll. No regret, no compunction, not even a pang of guilt? C’mon!
I spent the past few days on Cape Cod visiting a longtime friend and attending another friend’s wedding. As I jogged through the village of Osterville early in the mornings, memories of our years there lapped at the edges of my mind like waves at high tide.
This was the adopted home where our kids arrived as pre-schoolers and left as high school graduates.
This was the place where the little church we fell in love with was not afraid to attempt big things for God.
This became home base for ministry opportunities that rippled outwards throughout the region and then the nation.
But as for regrets? I’ve got a few.
I’m bummed I never learned to make beach plum jam.
I’m sorry I never found an Old Salt to take me digging for quahogs.
I regret I waded in an ocean of worry.
So what’s to worry about when you live year-round in a vacation paradise?
Worry that we wouldn’t last a year in our first pastorate. (We were there 13).
Worry that Mike wouldn’t survive emergency colon surgery. (He did).
Worry that a force that sought to destroy us might succeed. (It didn’t.)
Corrie ten Boon once famously said that worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.
Jesus taught explicitly on the topic. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Mt 6:34 NLT
Before I left the Cape this morning, I talked with my friends Catherine and Charlene about corralling worry. It likes to masquerade as concern, and with so many things to be genuinely concerned about – children, friends, cancer – it’s tricky to unmask Worry and call him out as the imposter that he is.
Worry is an uninvited guest who knocks on the door constantly, but there’s the thing – you don’t have to let him in.
Regrets, I’ve got a few. But you know what? When we live life forward and show Worry the door, we create space in our lives for things we missed the first time around.
Like making beach plum jam.