Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The deceptive magic of the do-over

Someone on one of my regular blogs mentioned things that they might do over if they had the chance. She talked about changing the major of her education. That one change, however, would alter many aspects of her life and invariably cause her not to be in the exact spot she was when she met her partner and husband.

I commented to her blog about the way one change makes ripples throughout our entire life. We are the sum of our actions. There is a term in real estate, assimilation I think, that means the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. This simply means that a units or group of properties have more value together than if you tried to sell them a piece at a time. We are like that. We are so much more than any block of our lives set aside. There have been men that rose to greatness from one or more failures, but if judged by one or two life events, they would be overlooked. Harry Truman failed several times before succeeding as President of the United States of America.

I shudder to think of the changes that might have occurred in my life if just one seeming insignificant fact was changed. At the end of my senior year in HS, I had the opportunity to go to Germany with my uncle and work there for the summer or more. College was looming in the near future and I passed on this opportunity to see the homeland of my mother. I stayed in the states and went on to become a college dropout. It was that summer I met my first wife. We divorced after 20 years, but had three beautiful daughters that continue to bring joy to my life. One little trip could have changed all that.

When we look at one event and consider all the things that had to happen just for it to be possible, it is mind boggling. The ramifications of conscious and unconscious decisions is staggering. We are creatures of wonder and we will always wonder 'what if.' For me, while I may wonder, I am content to leave my past in my past and live in the joy I have in my life.

Whether you hold to the belief that we are solo sojourners in this life or that we are being led by divine providence, it doesn't matter. You are who you are because of what happened yesterday. Tomorrow is a field covered with a fresh blanket of snow, awaiting tracks to create a trail, to lead to the next day, and the next, and the next.

I can change my future, right now. I can make new and clamorous decisions. I can pick any direction and travel. However, I am stuck with my past. It makes me who I am. I can take the lessons of the past and be a bitter person or a better person. That choice is mine.

Well, here I am, thinking too much again, as my honey says.

I'm gonna turn the brain down a notch, finish grading projects, enter grades in the book, and try to come home for a few minutes before heading off to a board meeting.

Y'all come back now, ya hear ?

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