In getting older you start walking down Memory Lane. And every once and awhile you find yourself lost on a side street called Regret. Now you’ve walked so far down Regret Street you lost your sense of direction and can’t get back to Memory Lane. In the distance you see a sign and upon closer observation it reads Whatifsville.
Upon arrival you sit on a park bench to rest and you notice the population is small and the people’s attitudes are even smaller. Then out of nowhere thoughts from every direction start pouring into your mind….
“What if I’d prayed more and played less video games? What if I’d married the other option instead of who I am with? What if I’d gone on to grad school instead of stopping with a Bachelor’s degree? What if I’d chosen a different position as opposed to the one I’ve been stuck in these many years? What if I’d gone to church? What if I’d never snorted that first line? What if I’d relocated to the place I wanted to go instead of staying here? What if I’d saved that money I spent on a home I no longer own? What if my marriage hadn’t ended in divorce? What if I’d never smoked that first cigarette? What if I’d decided to have a career instead of being a stay at home mom? What if I could have raised my children differently? What if I’d focused more on family instead of a future? What if I’d set a better example for my children? What if I’d made wiser investments or any investments at all? What if I’d made that right instead of that left? What if I’d said yes instead of no? What if I’d chosen a different career path? What if I start over?”
“What if God didn’t hear my prayers? What if I’d never taken that first drink? What if I’d seen the world instead of working all my life without a vision or vacation? What if I’d chosen to be an entrepreneur instead of slaving on a job that’s got me so stressed and miserable? What if I hadn’t waited so long to write that first book? What if I’d taken better care of myself then perhaps I wouldn’t be in this position? What if the people that mattered most in my life I would have told them so when they were alive? What if I’d followed my dream instead of getting sidetrack by emotional semantics? What if I hadn’t been so promiscuous? What if I would have saved money instead of spending it? What if I could have been myself instead of this masquerade party I’ve lived in all of my life? What if I’d just told the truth instead of living behind this lie? What if I’d chosen the right profession from the beginning? What if I hadn’t gambled all that money away in the stock market? What if I’d stayed home that day? What if I’d said no instead of yes? What if I’m not smart enough?”
In a panic, these varieties of what ifs were really getting to you and you just wanted to get out of town. While sitting on the park bench a discontented townsperson walks your way. You ask and he, unwillingly, gives you the directions back to Memory Lane. You are so happy to be on your way because your mind was beginning to short circuit and you wanted to clear all those what ifs out of your brain.
As you are walking back down Memory Lane something strikes your mind. What if Jesus had not gone to Calvary? Those what ifs would have been a deadend. Now they begin to dissapate as you start thinking, “because he did go to the cross all of those what ifs in Whatifsville are actually new beginnings and second chances.”
The moral to this story is the next time you start walking down Memory Lane and thinking what if—take a right turn onto Redirection Street. I promise if you make that right you will end up in a city called New Opportunities. A place you thought you’d never see again.
Because there will always be two sides to those what ifs—Our side and God’s.
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