I Have Regrets

1971-06-25-life-ad-baby-oil-ali-macgrawThat first perm comes to mind,
followed by twenty years of scrunch and fuzz
and photographs I’d like
to bury in the backyard.

And all those summers
at the beach, my pink,
immortal skin glazed
with baby oil. That was
a mistake for sure.

Also I should have listened
to my father when he said
beware of credit cards
and check the engine oil
now and then.

There are of course darker offenses:
affirmations undeclared
encouragements withheld
anger unleashed.

Yes, I have regrets.

But not among them
is that brilliant afternoon by the bay
when the preacher said Do you,
and we said Of course, though

we could not have known then
all that our vows
would supply and demand.
Even so, years later

as I consider this life we have made,
my prevailing regret
is that this blasted thesaurus
doesn’t contain a word

coming anywhere close
to the relief I feel
in knowing you and I
belong to each other.

11 thoughts on “I Have Regrets

  1. Hey Julie. This is excellent. I’ve got a group of guys at the church that are willing to help me with my preaching, specifically with simplicity and clarity. I tend to swerve to far to the lecture / teacher / academic side at times. Any resources you would suggest for me to consider? This piece here brought the question to mind because of its simplicity in language without any loss of the depth of meaning. Thanks.

    • Randy, thanks so much for the encouragement. Clarity and economy of language are definitely a challenge every time I write anything, especially a sermon. (Btw, props to you for inviting some of your flock into your preaching life! What a vulnerable, brave thing to do.) I recommend everything Fred Craddock ever said, wrote or hiccuped about preaching. He’s such a supreme example of an astute theological thinker AND a storytelling gospel-bringer. Also, Brueggemann’s “Finally Comes the Poet” is another favorite, as well as William C. Martin’s brilliant little collection of prose-poems: “The Art of Pastoring.” Hope this helps. Blessings, friend.

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