An elderly member of our church family passed away yesterday. A month ago, a 90+ year old member died. They are with Jesus now. Seeing loved ones who predeceased them. I’m happy for them.
For the rest of us? Family members grieving, friends reminiscing. Perhaps a few regretting things done or undone; words said or unsaid. Or simply contemplating the day we will join them in the (distant) future.
My Mom will be celebrating her 80th birthday in a few days. Is she wondering “where did the time go?” She has been remembering experiences from her childhood and youth, sharing with me when I visit (easy to do now that my parents are my neighbours 🙂 Life was hard for her, in the small village in a country that no longer exists.
One story she told, about how hard her mother worked, preparing meals, gardening, housework and yard work. How in the winter her hands were rubbed raw, cracked and bleeding, from being wet, from the cold. Yet she didn’t dare wear gloves. Why? Because she would be judged as weak and pretentious by her neighbours. How silly. How sad.
Everything looks different, through the lens of time and life experience. When we are ‘in’ the moment, our focus is on getting through, doing what needs to be done. There’s little time for reflection or navel-gazing (remember that phrase from the 1960s?)
And yet… who was it that said “an unexamined life is not worth living?”
I live alone so I’m able to indulge in this pastime. Sometimes it’s depressing. I think about the years I wasted, decades even, pining for love and marriage, a home and a family. I came close a couple of times but that dream was never fulfilled. Ironically, I’m happy about that. I savour my solitude and rarely miss having a man with whom to share my life. Sure, it would be nice to have someone to repair broken appliances, drive me to the store and help carry heavy things. But I don’t miss sharing my bed with a too-warm body that snores and hogs the covers and litters the floor with dirty socks.
Sometimes I wonder… what if? What if …I had married the man I believed was ‘the love of my life’? We would be celebrating our 35th anniversary. Would we be surrounded by children and grandchildren? Or alone on a tropical cruise? Would the sparkle of love still be in our eyes, or would we be bored and wonder ‘what am I doing with this person?’ There’s no way of knowing.
Have you played the game – if I could go back to age ___ (your choice) and change ONE thing, what would it be?
I won’t bore you with the dozen or so scenarios I have concocted over the years. But one thing is certain. I would have pursued an education that prepared me for a vocation so that I could do work that I enjoyed no matter what else I had in life. Or, even if I did the work I do (executive assistant), that I might have done it with the same company, put in my 30 or 35 years, and been able to retire at 60.
Oh well… life offers few ‘do overs’.
There is one thing I do NOT regret. And if every mistake, every poor choice or wrong decision led to it, then I’m happy with my life as is.
Jesus. My Saviour and Lord. The only One who really matters – not just now but forever.
I don’t know, Vera. I don’t think we would want to change our lives, re-do a mistake, add or subtract people.
If we believe there is a path set before us by God, then we would have the same lessons to learn no matter what the details of our choices were.
And, by the way, I got the fancy education for a career that I thought was for life, back when I chose it. Only to find, today, I would have been better off learning a trade, like optometry or law or selling insurance or coding (not that I could do these things, but the academic preparation I got is no longer in demand).
If I had it to do over again, I would not move to a hot climate. That one thing has made me miserable for 6 months of every year, ever since I moved from the Northeast to the Southwest. I should have known better and refused. Sigh.
And you are right about the socks! Sheesh.
I know I’m being uselessly wistful, because we look back with hindsight but make our decisions and choices as we go along, doing the best we can with what we have.
I think your education and what you have learned about human behaviour is used in ways you may not always be conscious of; it’s good knowledge.
I am fancifully saying that it would be nice to be able to selectively change some things while not changing others but, as you said, it’s God who plans it all 🙂
C’est la vie. Let’s enjoy what we have…
Well, I always say, my dad paid $200K so I would know how to make a grid plan and calculate ratios, LOL! But, I am not an ambitious person, career or money-wise, so I probably would have chosen psych all over again, were I given the choice. It has helped me understand people better and be patient with them, as best I can.
I do enjoy my life, a lot. I feel very fortunate despite the setbacks and hard lessons along the way. Imagine what life is like in Syria or Yemen or Russia.
I don’t know if you knew Susan Irene Fox (http://susanirenefox.com/). Such a dear, sweet, loving person, who gave me such good advice over the time I have been blogging here. She was also a lover of Christ. She passed away suddenly last August and I just discovered it yesterday. I had wondered why she hadn’t posted, but I figured she was busy. I sat down and cried.
Hugs to you, Vera.
Sad about your friend, but good for her. She’s with the Lord now. Be well Beth and keep enjoying your life!