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[This is not necessarily a complete or coherent thought, it an invitation to discussion.]

Sometimes when I talk to my parents, I get so frustrated just knowing that things don’t have to be like they are with them. Things never had to be this way, and it’s so crushing to see them live out the choices they’ve made.  My selfish side has a little resentment, knowing how those decisions have impacted my life. But I try to avoid feeling like this, because taken on the whole, I have to consider the good decisions they’ve made, that have brought us the positive things we have in our lives. And most importantly, they’ve never shown anything but love for their parents and children. But it’s tough to grow so far apart from people you love so much, to see their faults. To know that this love is fallible.

I am living with the decisions I have made, too. I wonder how the small decisions have added up into the totality of where I am today. My smoking, the impact of one night out on the next day at school and thus my future, all these issues that I inherited from my parents, caused by the ones they inherited… The self destruction, the communication issues. The dialog of free will vs. predestination really leaves me speechless sometimes.

Then, the real baggage starts to come out – thinking of the ways I’ve tried to make family over the years because of this strange home situation. How many situations have I gotten myself into? All the small decisions I’ve made on those terms, where they’ve led me. I wonder about all the failed relationships in our lives – the people we’ve loved and hurt or let down, and how we are all the children of our  parents’ fallible love. Our fallible love. We do everything we can to hold on to the things that we can in this world, to give space to the things that need space, to draw near what we need drawn near. And it destroys me. What led me to be sitting here at 2pm on a Sunday, picking myself up off the floor when Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah comes on?

But my parents’ fallible love – isn’t all love fallible? Isn’t that part of love’s nature? Am I doomed to have my epitaph read “I never meant to hurt you”

Then, I turn to something that so struck me a few weeks ago that I wrote down.

“In the face of being reminded of something I did not finish in a previous relationship, I realized that it’s not necessarily about finishing things, because there will never be this completeness, never be perfection; but rather it’s about enjoying, learning, and growing from the things we have in process, the journey is its own justification. The things we do and don’t finish color our imperfect memories, and prove why and how we HAVE to love each other. Our love is in the face of our imperfections, and those of others. Our love is the embrace of the whole person, the things we call perfect, and the things we call imperfect.”

These regrets, our natural impulse is to have them. But to live and love without regret is the point. The best gift you can give to yourself and those you have loved is to say, after all this self-doubt, that you have loved without regret. From our family, to the families of affinity that we assemble. From ourselves to our greatest romantic loves. I’m ready to mean it. When you’re ready to mean it, say it with me –

I have loved without regret.

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