I recently watched a fascinating five-part documentary on the Star Trek captains. Canadian television icon William Shatner produced the series of interviews with the actors who were privileged to play the role of captain of the starship Enterprise. The first interviewee was Avery Brooks. Brooks played Benjamin Sisko on the series Deep Space Nine. The man is complex and eccentric (if not permanently stoned). It was entertaining watching Shatner attempt to communicate and understand Brooks. The following two interviews, however, were the ones which I found particularly interesting. Shatner sat down with Kate Mulgrew and Patrick Stewart. Mulgrew was Captain Janeway on Star Trek Voyager. Stewart is famous for his portrayal of Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both Mulgrew and Stewart were successful in their careers before putting on their uniforms. They brought years of experience with them to the Paramount lots. But they also brought something else with them.
Each brought regret.
Some regret at age 58 (Mulgrew) and 73 (Stewart) is expected. None of us live perfect lives. We make mistakes. Sin mars many of our decisions. More than likely, you and I will have a couple of regrets when we begin “looking back” upon our years. But I do not want that inevitability to make me less vigilant during these days when regrets are created.
You might be wondering the nature of the regrets mentioned by these famous actors. It won’t surprise you to hear that both mentioned their failures within their family. Mulgrew talked about putting career above her children from time-to-time. Stewart expressed even more remorse over his two failed marriages. Their confessions reminded me to be careful that I do not lose what I currently possess–my marriage and my children.
It isn’t by chance tonight that I am wearing a tee-shirt which reads, STAND on the front. I don’t recall where I purchased the shirt. It’s comfortable for sleeping. But tonight I thought I’d read the verse printed on the back. It is a passage most Christians cherish. 1 Corinthians 10:13 contains a precious promise to all believers. God will provide a way of escape when we are tempted. And–I have been tempted. And–I will be tempted yet again. So will you. I will be lured away from my responsibilities. I will be tempted to believe the lie that the grass is greener. So will you.
What must we do? STAND! Stand firm and look for the God-provided way of escape. Shatner, who also made unwise decisions in his personal life, described regret as the worse of all emotions. Mulgrew contested that assertion. I would probably do the same. Regret is part of the human experience. It is also a constant reminder to remain faithful to our present callings.
In the final interview of the series, the camera was turned on the producer–William Shatner. While he was answering a question about what he sacrificed for his career, he mentioned his current wife of ten years. He admitted to finally reaching a point in his relationships where he could truly love just one woman. When asked what matters most to her, Kate Mulgrew replied, “Love.” Both were striving to live without regrets.
That’s how I am striving to live today. Yes, I have regrets. There are things I would definitely do over. But I do not want that to be true in my relationship with Jodi and my role as a father. Pray that I STAND. Pray that I will balance my priorities correctly, living for what matters–the glory of God and the blessing of others.
May God enable you to do the same.