I Forgot to Remember to Forget


Stan Kesler, the father of one of my wife’s sister-in-laws, worked as an engineer at Sun Studios in Memphis at the beginning of Elvis’s career. But Stan was also a song writer, and he co-wrote several of Elvis’s early songs, including “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” and “You’re Right, I’m Left, She’s Gone.”

 

We all have regrets. It’s a side-effect of being human. The problem with regrets is our inability to let go of some of them. When we “forget to remember to forget.”

God is always willing to forgive us for our sins when we turn to Him in true repentance, but that doesn’t mean we’re automatically able to forgive ourselves. And even when we do, those memories often come back to haunt us at the least expected times and in the most troubling ways.

God can help us deal with that, but it requires a great deal of prayer time and close fellowship with Him.

Fortunately, not all of our regrets are of equal importance.

I was thinking recently about the time I learned to drive and the first few months after I got my license. And even one more recent time. These are some of my “smaller” regrets:

  • While practicing my driving, I accelerated too much and backed all the way across the street and several feet into somebody’s yard. But why regret? That could’ve been much worse.
  • Why, oh why did I have to learn to drive using a stick shift in a small city that had a number of steep hills, many of them with traffic lights or stop signs at the top? Hmm. But at least I had a friend who was willing to teach me to drive, using his new car. And I never put one ding in it.
  • When I inherited my first car, it had power brakes. I wasn’t used to them, and a group of fellow teachers had a good time laughing at me when I was trying to make my way out of a parking lot. Okay, I suppose laughter didn’t do any permanent damage.
  • I was making a two hundred mile drive as a new driver, and the snow got so bad that snow tires were legally required. But I didn’t have any. At one point I pulled off to the side of the road, but when I pulled out again, I misjudged the speed of a coming bus. Fortunately, the collision was so mild that it only broke one tail light cover. Regrettable? Yes, but I learned an important lesson about driving in snow.
  • I was driving my daughter to college–an eight hundred-plus mile trip–and thought I was smart enough to maintain the posted speed limit in spite of the rain. When the car spun off the road, it went barreling straight across a VERY wide grassy median strip almost to the side with oncoming traffic. But I was able to drive back across and get on the highway again with no more damage than a greater fear than I’d probably ever felt before. A greater fear and a change of driving habits.

Some regrets are more serious than others, but those that taught me a lesson are worth remembering. They’re just not worth fretting about as if I could go back and change anything.

I thank God daily for His love and mercy. And for helping me to put worthless regrets even further out of my mind.

What about you? Do you have regrets that linger like a ghost on your shoulder? Or have you learned–perhaps with God’s help–to put everything in its proper perspective? Your comments are welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Learning to Drive

While my high school classmates were busy taking driver ed, I was busy lamenting the fact that my parents had one car. Because my father was a minister, that car would seldom be available once I learned to drive. And since my mother was a stay-at-home mom and I didn’t have a job, either, the prospects of paying for the extra insurance were nil. So why bother to learn to drive?

I might explain that I was a lot more timid in those days than I am now and was afraid of doing something really dumb if I took driver ed. Unlike many of my classmates, I had never been behind the wheel of a car. Not while it was moving, anyhow.

Flash forward. To 1968. I realized I couldn’t spend my whole life bumming rides off of other people. Especially the girls I wanted to impress.

One of my English instructors at Frostburg State, Alan Stone, wanted to learn to play guitar. He had a brand-new Ford Falcon, but he was willing to take a chance and swap driving lessons for guitar lessons.

His car had a standard transmission. That sounded like fun. Until I realized that I couldn’t drive anywhere in western Maryland without going up and down hills. And discovered how many of those hills had traffic lights at the top. Lights I always seemed to have to stop for.

Learning to keep from rolling backwards–why did the person behind me always have to stop so close?–kept me alert and constantly nervous.

No mishaps, though. But there was the time I made a bad turn and needed to back up. I overshot where I was supposed to stop by a number of yards. Yes, people were watching, and did they evermore give me the funniest looks.

I failed the test the first time, and I was scheduled to work in a different state that summer after graduation. There wasn’t time to take the test again before I left. So getting my license had to go on hold.

But things got complicated once I obtained a teaching position on the other side of Maryland. I was really going to have to get my license.

I brushed up a little on my driving when I got home, but the local DMV wasn’t giving the test every day, and I needed to leave for Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But I learned I could take the test at any DMV office. So, on the drive to the Eastern Shore, my parents took me to the DMV office in a city that was on the way–one that we knew would be testing that day.

I passed! But I was still car-less.

What? You want to know what I did about that? Sorry, but this post is only about getting my license. Hmm. Maybe I’ll give you the rest of the story another day.

What about you? What were your experiences learning to drive? Please leave a comment and share.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Best regards,
Roger