(Crossposted from my Facebook feed)

I’ve heard it said that sometimes the purpose God gives a person for living on this earth is to serve as a warning. I’m beginning to believe that about myself these days.

I will be spending the holidays alone, as usual. Even if I could afford to visit family, this 23-year Florida resident is not equipped to deal with the cold of Michigan or Syracuse, where the rest of the immediate family lives post-diaspora from Southern California where we all grew up.

“Alone” wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t the constant reminders of “what could have been,” had I not so spectacularly sabotaged “the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11) back then. I had a hope and a future, and willingly gave it up—a regret I’m reminded of every time I go to church, every time I visit a theme park, every holiday celebration I find myself in. That church and the theme parks are all I have left, though, so I go anyway.

We refuse to acknowledge that God’s grace and mercy does not remove consequences. David was forgiven of his sin with Bathsheba but he still lost his firstborn. Moses for his impetuousness was allowed to see the promised land but never to enter it himself. Samson for his sin with Delilah was given one last chance to show his strength but still died with all the Philistines that he pulled down the arena onto. And I will die with the regrets of what I left behind. That’s how it works—fail to follow the design, and things will end up badly.