Have you heard those words before? Maybe once or twice?
I was using those words as a mantra several weeks ago. I had made a tentative appointment … well let me back up.
This is how it went. I have a potential opportunity to sell some of my photo cards in a shop at Lake Louise – a breath taking tourist destination in the Rockies. I had been told that the “decision maker” would be there between “this date and this date” and “this time and this time.” Oh yes he would! But I was unable to contact anyone before I left home. Nonetheless I will do ANYTHING for a drive to the mountains – so I just started driving!
However, I had a migraine the day before and the brightness of the day bothered my eyes so I was moving slow. I was not following the schedule I had planned, and so a little anxiety began to well up. About half way into my trip I started on the “what if’s…”
What if he didn’t like my like my Photos? What if he said no? What if he wasn’t there? What if I missed him?
What if … What if … What if?
I could feel the lump in my stomach sink deeper. My shoulders tensed – my hands tightened on the steering wheel. My thoughts got stuck in my head instead of relishing the spectacular sight of the Rocky mountains on this glorious spring morning. What if…? The day was deteriorating with every kilometre.
Then, from somewhere underneath all my negativity, my thoughts shifted. I thought – “so what?” And doors of possibility began to open for me. What if he doesn’t like my photos – maybe there is a better opportunity for me? What if I miss him – I’m so nervous, maybe this will be my practice run? Doors began to open.
Do you do that? Make the “what if….” into a litany of negativity? But what if these words were the gateway to possibilities?
I was going to post these musings as they sit – and let that be the end of it.
But I had one of “those” conversations today. One, where the words cause a tilt in your perspective of life! The power in “what if…” shot to another level. My discussion was with 3 dear friends, trusted fair witnesses to certain stretches of the road I have travelled in my life. I value their words. The conversation turned to our thoughts on “consequences.” We had different words, perspectives and views on this word that describes an aspect of life flow.
I believe consequences are a part of every decision we make. Every choice, every turning is a ripple forever changing the course of events in our lives. From my perspective I was looking at consequences with a negative light. I am perturbed when there is a lack of acknowledgement of consequences. Saying “I’m sorry”, apologizing, even making amends creates a new outcome but doesn’t negate an actual event. Pretending it didn’t happen doesn’t make it go away. The ripples always flow.
I have some big regrets in my life. I have made decisions that have haunted me – regret and shame have found a place to hang heavy on me. I have done my best to make amends, to atone – but nothing can ever take me back to that moment of decision. NOTHING. So my “consequences” are usually viewed with a painful light. Grief that has not faded I have allowed to define me. My friend agrees that the consequences DO define us, but she views that mountain of “what if’s” as places of redemption in our lives. It doesn’t have to be the place that breaks us – it is the place we grow from!
I have had a bipolar view of my life. In one moment I am thankful for Gods redeeming power in my life – for transforming my pain into a glory story. In the next moment I am crippled by the “consequences” of my choices. And I am devastated. I let the “what ifs” define a broken history of me.
Every day we face myriads of decisions. Coffee with cream or milk? Grocery store now or after work? Hold on to my anger at my spouse or let it go? Will I betray my heart or be true? What if…?
I have some “what if’s” that rip open my spirit and soul.
AND YET – they are the reason I am WHO I am today. They are the reasons I do what I do, feel compelled to live as I do! All the work of my heart is a result of my journey and the transformed, redeemed consequences! And I am reminded by my friends – this is a beautiful thing!
So this is my BIG thought for the day …
Use the “what ifs” ahead of you to TRANSPORT you to the open doors of possibility … and adventure! And those weighty “what ifs” behind you – let them TRANSFORM you! Allow Gods hand to transform your regrets into precious gifts. The past is the source of the flow that has created the brilliance of who you are today – if you let it.
The meeting about my photo cards? Discussions are still in hopeful process. BUT I had time to hike across and around that frozen lake on this one particular glorious spring afternoon. I stood in the MIDDLE of that spectacular lake, which has been fed for a millennia by ancient glaciers, and I took a picture of a single cloud in the brilliant blue sky.