As I child I was filled with wonder. The future seemed as far away as the perfect Crisco Tan in December. I dreamed and as I pondered with God how my life would be, I doubted my Earthly Father’s phrase: “Jinny, you have The World by the tail, you just don’t know it yet.”
Many curiosities were solved as big pillars of the future solidified. I found my person, finished my education, had my children, began ministry. I moved through my days with the big questions answered even with the unpredictability of cancer which would steal my mother in law and Father in their 60’s, I assumed my status quo.
The surprising reality is that a foundation which appears to be Stonehenge Tuesday afternoon may really be a folded circus tent on Wednesday Morning. Not even headed anywhere great I may add.
Like a moldy Hurricane Harvey house in my childhood neighborhood, the water can instantly rise and steal your status quo. For us it was the bus accident nine years ago today which folded up our Stonehenge like a cheap Big Lots camping chair.
Yours perhaps is a failed business, a disappointing career, a sour marriage or an uncommunicative child. If only I could have appreciated when I had it all. Indeed a regretful mind could wonder “What would this look like if the devastation never happened?”
I am asked frequently if I wonder what Maggie Lee would be doing, where she would’ve gone to college and what her major may be. I usually answer with a quip to change the subject because I have found that wondering is dangerous for me.
Wondering breathes life into realities which can never be. It requires one return to yesterday, sift through the fragmented memories and construct a hypothetical future scenario of the way life would be if only.
The tempting whisper to wander What if Way comes no matter our past. If we live life long enough we will battle ourselves to steer clear of If Only Avenue. No matter if about a lost child or a lost home or an abusive past or a horrible choice. The desire to retreat and as the great Theologian, Cher, said, “Turn Back Time,” is common to all persons.
I have realized that I am too selfish to be miserable. My misery is enhanced on The Magic School Bus of time travel to recreate a narrative which is already published. It is far too late to rewrite last decade’s chapter.
Depressing, right? There is absolutely no return to fix the past. No preventing the stupid choices of ourselves or others which ended up in tragedy. There is no making the clock stand still, nothing accomplished by being miserable to try to extract penance out of others for ruining our lives.
We have no ability to amend yesterday but shockingly every capacity to fix today. To live. To breathe. To move and have our being in Christ. Only God Almighty can heal. And thank God for it, but we must be willing to sacrifice the perfect hypothetical to receive our beautiful forward-motion reality.
No friend can convince us, no cajoling can coerce us to leave what could’ve been for the incredible life which can be. Daydreaming is healthy. Wondering is fine. As long as we are always moving with our healer and helper. And that healer and helper is forever focused FORWARD.
These days I am left to wonder but only how life can be so beautiful again.