“What if?: That infamous question that often haunts us after we have made a tough decision. “What if we took the wrong path?”, “What if we said the wrong thing?”, or those even more serious “what if’s”… “What if I married the wrong person?”, or “What if I’m not a good parent?” If life were like a remote control, we could then go back and rewind the pages of our life, going back to that time or question at hand to change the outcome. Fortunately, life is not like that. I say fortunately because we do not need to be able to change what has been. Rather, we should be focused on determining, as much as we can, what will be. I’ve had many times in life when I have questioned “what if?”. I have thought of decisions I’ve made, and wondered if my life would have been different if I decided to do things another way. Then I realized that I will only put myself in mental angst because there is nothing I can do to change the decisions that have already been made. I cannot time travel into earlier years, nor can I erase any hurt I have caused. I cannot change that decision that may have made my life shift, nor can I decide to erase the years that have been. I can only keep moving forward. “What if’s” leave us in a state of repeating cycles over and over. Instead of transitioning into the next phases of our life, we are stuck in the decisions of the past. Yes, if I made THAT decision, my life may have been easier. Maybe not. Yes, if I decided to do THAT one thing, I may not have dealt with that other thing. I have learned though that every decision I have made may not feel good in the moment, but everything will work out for my good. Besides, who said that you will never get another chance to make a better decision? Each day is another chance. Live in today. Keep moving forward. The future will take care of itself if we allow the past to rest. “What if’s” don’t buy you happiness, they make you vacillate between where you were and where you should be. Let them go.
Just because you cannot see the sun does not mean it is not there. Many times we awaken to cloudy skies and rain, and we despair because our hopes of a day filled with sunshine seem to dribble down the drain just as the water outside blankets the earth. Even so, the clouds and rain only hide the sun for a time. It may not get sunny outside after the rain, but it gets brighter, evidence of the sun peeking out even behind the clouds. That is how it is sometimes in life. We have such high hopes and expectations, but then a storm comes, sometimes from nowhere, and we encounter rain, hurt, and dashed dreams. We look around, expecting someone to come pick up the pieces of our broken lives and shattered hopes, and we wonder just where the sun went to hide. We forget that, as it has happened many times before, things always get lighter. No one may come and help us glue back together what has seemingly broken apart, but somehow things get better. Even in our lowest points, there is hidden hope. Just as the sun is hiding behind the clouds on the most dark of days, so is our hope shining behind our hurt and fears. We are resilient. Our nature is to bounce back. Just because it seems that things will never lighten, that does not mean that it never will. We have to believe, even when it seems impossible, that right now is not our totality. We have to remember that tomorrow is a closed door yet to be opened, but behind that door hide untold opportunities and newness. Regardless of your right now, look forward and understand that your right now will soon be past. Focus on today, but do not get lost in today. Hope in something better than this moment. Believe that you will see everything you have faith enough to believe in. Hidden hope does not mean there is no hope. It just means that you have to find it.