If you’re determined enough, you can use anything to keep lifting you toward your dreams.
Even the “What-Ifs”.
Stephen Coonts wrote, “If-onlys are a poison that can kill you as dead as arsenic. They rob you of the will to live and destroy your ability to cope with life. At some point, all of us have to let go of what-might-have-been and go on down the road of life.” –The Art of War
I read a lot. I don’t know if Coonts was revealing a character’s philosophy, or doing a little of Hemingway’s bleeding on the paper. If the latter, I respectfully offer this thought.
The “if-onlys” can do those things. Spending too much time dwelling on the past is unhealthy; life isn’t meant to be lived backwards. God created us to walk forward. We don’t make coffee the same as before. Well, unless one is enjoying a retreat in a mountain cabin . . . but that’s for another story.
“If-onlys” can also become a vital tool for personal growth and the continuing quest for personal and spiritual excellence.
The man or woman who evaluates plans for moving ahead by learning from “If-onlys” from the past is wise. He who refuses to learn from history is doomed to repeat it, right?
Patient: “Doc, I got this pain in my shoulder.”
Doctor: “Have you ever had that before?”
Doctor: “Well, it looks like you’ve got it again.”
Patient, raising left arm and wincing: “But, Doc, it hurts when I do this!”
Doctor: “Then don’t do that.”
You’re ahead of me. I know that because I know my readers. I believe we’ve all looked ourselves in the mirror, heaved a sigh, and said, “That thing you did before? Looks like you just did it again.”
Some feel scrutinizing past actions or inactions is counterproductive. If the sole purpose is to bemoan and wallow, I agree. Not just counterproductive, but harmful.
However, with Time’s passing and Life’s wisdom, taking another gander at past attitudes, thoughts and actions may well hold keys to unlocking some enriching moments yet ahead.
I believe in positioning myself to make the best of the time, energy, health and living remaining to me in this life. That is best done by heeding the aggregate of past and present lessons. It lets me extract from it the glistering sparklement of truth-gems that will help me not repeat former errors, and might even help me create some amazing new experiences.
So here’s to the “If-onlys” of my life. It’s my continuing prayer that I use those past experiences to continue informing my present journey, while preparing me to walk on in stronger faith toward whatever wonderful things God has ahead for me.
I don’t know. You might want to give it a try.
I love you, and I believe in you.
© D. Dean Boone, February 2017