There's been a recurring theme in the quotes my friend posts on Facebook lately.
Her latest post read, "I don't regret my past, I just regret the time I wasted with the wrong people."
I assumed she was talking about her ex-husband, who had hurt and humiliated her. Recovering from that relationship had been a hard process.
A process that wasn't over, it seemed. Even years later, she still carried the emotional burden of regret. How long can someone shoulder that weight before their knees buckle?
Many years ago I had found myself in a similar state.
During my senior years of high-school I worked part-time for a nursing agency, visiting the elderly in their homes and helping them with personal care, light housekeeping, and things like that.
Other times I was asked to work as relief staff in a nursing home, which I really enjoyed because of all the fascinating characters I met there.
There were many veterans who shared riveting war stories, men and women who'd lived through times I'd only read about, and even a lady who claimed to be one of the last remaining survivors of the Titanic.
It was a rewarding job to have at such a young age.
After I graduated high school, I decided to take a year off and work full-time. I thought I might not even go to university, with how well work was going.
After a few months I was starting to feel like I was part of the regular nursing home staff, and they offered me a full time position.
The offer was overwhelming. The money was more than I'd ever imagined making. It felt like a dream.
A union job with benefits and vacation pay. I was set for life, I thought.
I enthusiastically accepted the position.
I loved my new job. I counted the days until my three month probation was over so I could receive my official paperwork. But two weeks before that could happen, fate intervened and sent my life on a completely different path.
While trying to help a nurse lift a patient into a wheelchair, I somehow wrenched my back.
I thought I was fine, but by the end of my shift I could hardly move. I was in excruciating pain and decided to go to the emergency room.
Thankfully, the doctor told me that it wasn't too serious, but he ordered me to take a week off work to rest.
So that's what I did, and one week later I returned to work with a bounce in my step.
During my morning break my manager asked me to her office. I was finally going to receive my formal documents, I thought. I was wrong.
"Heidi, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to terminate you," she said sadly.
Her words shocked me. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath.
She explained that receiving an injury before my probation period ended meant I was a medical risk. So this would be my last shift.
I was miserable for weeks. I played the injury over and over again in my mind. Why had I been so careless?
Regret consumed me.
After being unemployed for weeks I eventually had to take a waitressing job. I hoped keeping busy would help numb the sting of regret.
Then one Sunday afternoon, when I was feeling my lowest, one of the nurses I had previously worked with came into the restaurant with her family.
I ducked behind a wall, hoping she didn't see me. Feeling panicked, I asked another waitress to take her table so I wouldn't have to see her. She was swamped and couldn't help me out.
Out of choices, I had to face my fear. I took a deep breath, emerged from behind the wall, and walked to her table.
The moment she saw me she jumped up and hugged me, asked me how I was doing.
Feeling pretty low, I told her. I hadn't been great since I lost my job, I explained.
She looked puzzled for a moment.
Then with a reassuring smile, she grabbed my shoulders and said, "Heidi, you never belonged at the nursing home. Fate stepped in to make sure you didn't. Getting fired was actually a blessing. You're such a smart girl who could do anything you want to do...now go and figure out what that is."
I was dumbfounded. How did she see something that I didn't?
For days I couldn't stop thinking about what she had said to me.
Then one week later, with her words in my heart, I drove to my hometown university and started the application process.
I haven't looked back since, and I've never forgotten her profound words. It turns out she was right. There really was more for me out there, and I'm so thankful that fate, or whatever you want to call it, gave me the opportunity to discover that.
Since then I've come to believe that everything DOES happen for a reason. The people we meet, the things that happen, even the misfortunes that befall us.
Good or bad, it's all part of a bigger plan.
Had I not injured my back, my life today would be drastically, unimaginably different. That sadness and regret was a difficult time in my life, but without that hard lesson I wouldn't be the person I am today.
To my lovely friend who is still feeling some regret, I offer up this quote for your wall..."Don't stare at the closed door too long, you'll miss the window opening".
Take it from me. I almost did.
Written by Heidi Allen - Founder of the Positive People Army
If you would like to submit a story please follow the Submit Story Link
Check out more great posts at All Posts