The Angel on my Left Shoulder

simpsonsIf there’s a list of the ten most worst feelings I suspect that regret would be either number one or two, depending on your age.  The longer you live, the more susceptible regret may rise to the top five.

We think of evil instantly when the left shoulder’s angel is acknowledged.  It is the right shoulder’s angel that brings us strength, direction and certitude while the left is left with the life’s unwanted and undesirables.  (Being left handed, why can’t the left be sometimes good?)  Unless you’re planning a terrorist attack or wiping out your family we can often dismiss evil as someone else’s problem but never our own.  Yet, softened a bit, evil can still haunt and bother the ordinary among us.  Its power slowly does its deed and then settles inside the shoulder for a comfortable ride through life.

Regrets is a big one because it’s the easiest to burden and hold us down. It’s big because of what you left unsaid at that restaurant, that apology you did not accept because you were unaccepting to anything at that time, a road’s fork where you choose the left path instead of the right.  (There’s that darn left again!)  The regrets grow bigger because of the moment’s context that either stopped you from talking or caused you to completely miss other options.

The easy burdens that regrets provide is that there is nothing you can do about them because that moment has expired.  That’s the beauty of any evil.  In evil, you feel helpless, alone and seek some kind of resolution.  That left shoulder-carrying regret will not let you off the hook because it’s the hook that never, ever can be resolved, reconciled or redone.  A moment is only a moment, after all.  The time has passed since you could have said something or done something else to move the left shoulder angel to the right.  So there it remains on the left to bother and cause you pain.  How ingenuous is evil to nag and annoy when nothing can be done about it?  It’s perfectly suited for its aim; to remain, yes, on the left shoulder.

I hear these days that the phrase is, “It is what it is” which I never liked but may apply to the burden of the left shoulder.  One method that I like better is to simply smile to yourself and laugh at the missed chances and opportunities and then hope that lessons learned are now a part of your life.  I hope that what burdened you on the left can slowly move in the right direction of your right shoulder.  (Why is it always the right one?)

books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS, available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon:
“Soulful Musings”
“Living Life’s Mysteries”
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings”

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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