Here are some previous thoughts on the subject of Regrets. When you have finished on this page, click Back to look at other topics.


Trafalgar 200 at Portsmouth today will be very different from the original. In 1805, Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson’s 27 ships defeated the combined French and Spanish fleet of 33 ships, sinking or capturing 22 vessels off Spain. In today’s mock battle, instead of the British taking on a French/Spanish fleet, a "red" force will take on a "blue". Otherwise, it is feared, the French and Spanish may be embarrassed by the reminder of a national disaster.

It isn’t always right to pretend failure hasn’t happened. Some countries have recently found that setting up commissions to review painful periods of their history have had a healing effect. In personal relationships too, not talking about something distressing can mean missed opportunities to move on. Sometimes we think everyone is agreed that something is best not spoken about when in fact no one has checked that this is the case - I wonder if anyone asked the French about today’s re-enactment. Sometimes, silence is helpful for a while but the time comes when speaking would be beneficial.

On one occasion, Jesus seemed to know such reference to a painful past would be helpful. He told a woman that he knew that she had had five husbands and she seemed to experience that as affirmation. Sometimes just to surface an old wound brings healing; this is especially likely to be true if it is done in the context of an accepting love. Someone who can judge the right moment to speak of something previously kept under wraps has a much needed skill.

Perhaps it would be worth reviewing today anything in our lives, or in those of others close to us, that is generally not mentioned. Allowing that to continue may well be wise – but let’s seek the discernment to know what is going to be most helpful to all concerned.


Suffolk County Council intends to appoint a ‘Garbology Officer’. Their task will be to teach children waste awareness. The youngsters will learn, among other things, to study waste from an archaeological perspective and discover from their rubbish how people lived. They will then know better ‘how to deal with their own garbage’.

When most of us look back at our own lives, we find plenty that feels like rubbish: wasted time, missed opportunities, unhappiness in relationships, unfulfilled commitments. When we sift through it in our minds, we can get quite despondent. Immediate waste disposal seems the most comfortable option. Forget it and move on as if it hadn’t happened.

Jesus offered his followers an image based on the contemporary belief that unhappiness and illness were caused by ‘unclean spirits’. A householder does a thorough tidy up, getting rid of the ‘unclean spirits’ which haunted their home. But this rubbish was not properly disposed of and the ‘spirits’ simply returned sevenfold.(Luke 11.24-26)

Before we throw out of our lives what we think of as waste, it might be as well to process it. Examining it with a view to learning more about ourselves, about why we behave the way we do, about what we most deeply want from life, can be very educational. Rubbish that is properly disposed of won’t return to haunt us. Learning how to deal with our own garbage is perhaps a lesson we all need to learn.


According to legend, yesterday was the 2,757th anniversary of the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus and last weekend hundreds of fans of ancient Rome dressed up as emperors, senators, gladiators and legionaries and, led by a “vestal virgin”, marched past the ruins of the forum to the Colosseum. Their costumes and the location recalled both the “glory that was Rome” and its violent underside.

Rather more Italians were vying last weekend for tickets to a new film La Meglio gioventu which has filled all 2,700 seats of Rome’s modern Coliseum, the Auditorium, many times over. Its six hours tell the story through the eyes of two brothers of the last 40 years of Italian history. For older viewers, happy memories of the post-war years have been revived. “This is how it was,” reported a middle-aged gentlemen emerging from the cinema. But younger movie goers have been shocked. “It can’t have been that bad!”. But all have found the underlying theme – the emergence of violence and terrorism and its integration with ordinary life – revealing and disturbing

The past of all of us, both corporately and as individuals, has made a major contribution to who we are today. What we have experienced over the years of our lives will have been a mixture of pain and delight, struggle and contentment, shame and “glory”. Calling to mind events from the different stages of our history will not always be comfortable. Sometimes an overall review can reveal unwelcome trends. Recalling past mistakes can rekindle shame or embarrassment. But the process can sometimes suggest things to be careful about in the future and it is often a healing, integrating process. Using odd moments today for such reflection might give us some valuable insights.


Rather more Italians were vying last weekend for tickets to a new film La Meglio gioventu which has filled all 2,700 seats of Rome’s modern Coliseum, the Auditorium, many times over. Its six hours tell the story through the eyes of two brothers of the last 40 years of Italian history. For older viewers, happy memories of the post-war years have been revived. “This is how it was,” reported a middle-aged gentlemen emerging from the cinema. But younger movie goers have been shocked. “It can’t have been that bad!”. But all have found the underlying theme – the emergence of violence and terrorism and its integration with ordinary life – revealing and disturbing

The past of all of us, both corporately and as individuals, has made a major contribution to who we are today. What we have experienced over the years of our lives will have been a mixture of pain and delight, struggle and contentment, shame and “glory”. Calling to mind events from the different stages of our history will not always be comfortable. Sometimes an overall review can reveal unwelcome trends. Recalling past mistakes can rekindle shame or embarrassment. But the process can sometimes suggest things to be careful about in the future and it is often a healing, integrating process. Using odd moments today for such reflection might give us some valuable insights.