Maybe, maybe not.
The weight of regret as we look back on mistakes can be great, robbing us of the possibility of happiness now or in the future.
On the other hand, if we are to learn anything about life, some amount of reflection on the past is required.
There is also a biblical take on this to be found in the Book of Daniel. It is rendered above in a reproduction of Rembrandt’s painting Belshazzar’s Feast.
God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end.You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
So it comes to pass that very evening that King Belshazzar is murdered and replaced as king by Darius the Mede.
The handwriting on the wall comes late, too late for Belshazzar to undo his misdeed and profit from the learning. Most of us have a bit better chance of putting things right and reforming ourselves and our behavior.
Unfortunately, not everyone does so, that is, takes the time to learn. Satchell Paige was right: “…something might be gaining on you.” But it just might be something important, knowledge or self-awareness that must catch up to you despite the forward rush of life.
One of Paige’s contemporaries, Adlai Stevenson II, put it very well.
“Most people can’t read the handwriting on the wall until their back is up against it.”
Look over your shoulder now and then. A little self-reflection is a good thing.
The above image is Belshazzar’s Feast by Rembrandt, source from the Web Gallery of Art via Wikimedia Commons.