Burning Our Regrets

Last week at church Piper burned her regrets from 2012. It was part of the Children’s Worship Service, which is one of my favorite things that our congregation does. One Sunday a month, in a space that’s all their own, the children come together to practice spirituality. The children light the candles. The children collect and give the offering. The children decide their own service projects. The children join hands and pray. The children recite their pledge to our community:

May we have eyes that see,

hearts that love and

hands that are willing to serve

Children squirm during the short service and it’s okay. Sometimes they switch seats and it’s okay. Sometimes they have urgent questions and it’s okay. They’re children. This is their service. I get to attend with Piper, but I’m only a visitor.

Because it’s the new year, the children decided that the service would center around new beginnings. And to begin anew sometimes you have to let go of the past. These kids are geniuses, aren’t they? We should stay out of their way and listen a little harder.

Each kid wrote a regret from 2012 on a piece of flash paper. It could be something they’d done or something that had happened to them that made them sad or something in our world that was regretful. I’m sure you can think of a few. Piper had no problem coming up with hers. On her tissue paper thin paper she wrote:


It’s happened to her. She’s done it a few times too. We all have. And sometimes it hurts. Whether we mean for it to or not. Piper regrets teasing and she doesn’t like when she’s teased.

Piper clutched her paper tight as she got in line with the rest of the children. One by one they burned their regrets in a large urn. The flash paper gave it a dramatic effect. When you toss your paper into the small flame, a momentarily flash of fire bursts. Piper thought it had PIZAZZ, her new favorite word.

Then they talked about forgiveness and letting go of injuries. Piper had one moment of teasing that particularly hurt that she’s been holding onto. She’s talked about it daily since it happened. But after burning TEASING, I haven’t heard her mention it. She’ve moved on. Kids can do that. They live in this moment. This one. Sure, there’s a birthday party at some bounce house this weekend, but when you don’t know the days of the week, the weekend means nothing. It’s so far away. It could be tomorrow. It could be never. It’s recess. Let’s go play. Let’s try not to tease while we’re out there. And forgive a lot more in 2013. I’m following Piper’s lead.

6 thoughts on “Burning Our Regrets

  1. What a wonderful ritual. A powerful way to forgive ourselves and others, and release the past so we can live more fully on the present. yea piper..and Melissa! Think I will join you two!

    • Thanks, Jill. Your sister taught me so much about the importance of these rituals. I’ve had so many wonderful teachers in my life, but Piper is my favorite so far. So glad to have you reading the blog.
      Namaste, friend.

  2. Dead Mrs. Young, I read almost all of entries and find every single one very enjoyable. But this one was extra special and emotional. A very good way to start the year. Your kids are something else. Happy New year, Fernanda Nobre

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Fernanda! It makes my day to hear from you. Thanks so much for reading piperism. I’m so glad it means something to you. Mr. Young and I both agree that Piper’s spirit reminds us exactly of you! You’ve always had such a light, and I love your crazy sense of humor. It would be a lot of fun to watch you and Piper together. Sissy would probably make you both behave 🙂 Happy new year to you, too. Thanks for keeping in touch.

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