I’m the type of person who has always believed that anything is possible…or, at least, probable. Years ago I read a book by Richard Bach entitled One. I had already read all his previous works: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, There’s No Such Place as Far Away, The Bridge Across Forever, and Illusions. I found them all to be very spiritual in nature and very thought-provoking.
One was no exception. It made me stop and think about the consequences of our decisions and our actions. To quote the inside flap of the Book Club edition: “What if space shifted and time bent and we could meet ourselves as we’ll be in twenty years from now? What if we could talk face-to-face with the people we were in the past, with the people we are in parallel lifetimes, in alternate worlds? What would we tell them, and what would we ask? How would we change if we knew what waits beyond space and time?” Very good questions indeed.
I don’t know if it’s a side-effect of growing older, but recently I found myself in one of those states of reverie where your mind conceives of all types of possibilities. It may have begun with the thought of that 50-year class reunion that happened last month, I don’t know, but there I was pondering the “What ifs” of reality had I made different choices.
Some people believe in free will while others believe there is a force that has created the illusion of free will when, in reality (whatever that is), everything is preordained and we are just going through the motions. I think I fall somewhere in-between these two extremes. While I do believe in free will, I also believe we came in with a plan to accomplish certain things and work with certain people in order to accomplish them. Our free will isn’t taken from us because, on a conscious level, we don’t remember our plan.
Therein lies the rub, as they say. That’s what makes me take these little mind trips to wonder, “What if…?” What if I had stayed with my first husband? Would I have eventually still found Wicca and done all the things that it has brought into my life or would I have created a stereotypical life as a wife and mother and been miserable? (And I would have been miserable, folks, because that’s just not me.) What if, after getting divorced from him, I hadn’t jumped from the frying pan into the fire and started a relationship with the man who became my second husband? The list of my “What ifs?” is long so I won’t bore you with them, but you get the idea.
Then, the question becomes, what happens to the road I chose not to go down? Is there another “me” who did travel down that road, live that reality? What was/is that like for that “me”? The possibilities are infinite and, sometimes, mind-boggling because at that point I wonder if I could have made life easier for myself had I chosen differently. Have I managed to accomplish anything that was in my original plan for this lifetime? How many of the choices I made diverted me away from that plan?
I’ve told you before about a friend who told me many years ago, that in her mind, there are no wrong choices. There are only choices that make life easier or more difficult. That was and is one HUGE piece of wisdom. It told me, and continues to remind me, that free will is alive and well. If you are meant to go somewhere, meet someone, do something in particular, you still have a chance of accomplishing it. It just might take you a little longer to get there because you chose to take the scenic route over bumpy, gravel “roads” rather than take the interstate to your destination. But still….I continue to wonder. What would life be like now, had I made different decisions to solve the problems and situations in my life?
Wasting my time? No, I don’t think it’s a waste of time. For one thing, it shows me that, ultimately, I am in charge of what happens in my life. I have the choice to make my decisions based in love or fear and the results, from how I base those decisions, will make my life easier or more difficult. Whether I want to see the truth of it or not, I have choices and they are mine and mine alone. The trick is to make those decisions and then not look back in regret.
“Now” is truly the only moment we have. We shouldn’t waste it second-guessing ourselves or living in regret. There’s awareness and wisdom to be gained by looking back at our lives and seeing from where we’ve come. I think, when used wisely, those experiences can help us and others to move forward more creatively and constructively in our lives.
The back cover of One , has one sentence followed by a question – “I gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth it?” That, to me, is the only question we really need to ask ourselves. For me, the answer is pretty simple…. “Yes!”