One of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, had a blog post about asking the question, what if? His consideration of this question explained how authors use this question when they're trying to advance a plot. Answering the question "what if?" for their protagonist leads to huge changes. Relationships start or end. Careers are begun or abandoned. Families are healed or broken. After this posting, Miller's readers began offering their own "What if's." All this discussion about what may have been, led me to think about my own what if's. Obviously there are what if's that I had/have no control over. Some of the more upsetting ones (because of their possibly positive or negative impact) include:
What if I had actually known my Papa Jack and Grandma Betty?
What if my mom hadn't lost her third baby?
What if we had lived near my mom's family instead of my dad's?
What if my Aunt Mary Kay were still alive?
What if Grandma Phyllis and Grandpa Dick were never a part of my life?
What if my dad hadn't found the postcard that led him to meet my Aunt Lillian?
What if I hadn't been a fat kid?
Other what if's, however, I did have control over, and they have steered the course of my life as I know it.
What if I hadn't accepted Christ as a child?
What if I decided not to go to youth group at our new church, SunCrest?
What if I had called Hillsdale home instead of Anderson?
What if I chose not to be an RA for two years?
What if I turned my back on my God?
What if I hadn't realized I deserved better than the three year relationship I'd been in?
What if I had called and cancelled dinner on September 1, 2007?
What if I waited too long to accept my job at LC?
The last set of what if's are yet to set the course of my life.
What if I don't teach forever?
What if I design despite the fact that I don't have a degree?
What if Sarah and I really do grow a fantastic business?
What if I finally lose that last twenty pounds?
What if I forgive the people who abandoned me?
What if I really love my neighbor as myself?
What if I truly follow Christ like I say I want to?
What if I write that book?
What if my husband and I allow our love of children as opposed to our finances dictate the size of our family?
These are the what if's in life that I still have to answer. I know it won't be easy, but more importantly, I know that leaving these questions unanswered will leave me with a whole other set in years to come. Here's to what if's and possibilities.