Tuesday, March 01, 2011
He shifted uncomfortably in the chair. He knew this was coming and yet he still wasn’t ready for it. He looked up into the eyes of the other one and, finding only wounding compassion and patience, he quickly looked back down.
If you could go back and change anything, what would you change?
Straight to the heart of the matter…he sighed the way he did when he wanted people to think that he was holding the weight of the world on his shoulders and measured his words carefully before allowing them to become his truth in the cool morning air. “Everything,” he said in a tiny, self-conscious voice.
“Well…almost everything…” He waited for response until he realized that one was not yet forthcoming. “It feels like every decision I made…every avenue I chose to turn onto…every choice…was wrong. It would be a…blessing…to be able to go back…to know what I know now and let it inform my life in ways that would make it better…”
You think that would have made a difference? You think that the person you think you would have been would be a happier person?
He grimaced, hot tears crowding the corners of his eyes. “God, I hope so.”
What specifically would you change?
The question had so many answers he wasn’t exactly sure where to begin. He looked up for guidance but all he found was patient attention. “I would zig when before I zagged,” he said, allowing himself a mirthless laugh. “I would keep my feet on the ground instead of letting myself drift among so many foolish, unrealistic dreams. I would apply myself to making life what I needed it to be instead of just passively letting it happen to me.”
The words tumbled out with a will of their own and his breathing got tight but he didn’t stop. “I would tell my mother I love her every day of my life and tell my father I forgive him even though he probably wouldn’t understand what I was forgiving him for. I would hold my brother tight and do whatever I needed to do to save him from himself.”
He took a breath and the hot tears seized the moment and rolled down his face. “I would tell the people I loved that I did and leave those I didn’t love by the side of the road. I would kiss the people I wanted to but didn’t…and I wouldn’t kiss the ones I shouldn’t have but did.”
He closed his eyes and wiped his face. “I would really be as strong as I always pretended to be…” He opened his eyes and looked up. “I wouldn’t be so afraid.”
He sat back, spent, and waited. The silence danced around them.
You know that it doesn’t work that way.
He laughed again, ruefully but with some mirth this time. “Yes, sir, I know it doesn’t work that way.” He felt a strong, warm hand rest on his shoulder.
Most things aren’t good or bad…black or white…they just are…and they are in innumerable shades of gray. The same is true for your journey, of course.
“That doesn’t make me feel better.” The other one laughed warmly and leaned over and kissed the man’s cheek.
It will when it’s supposed to.
Somehow knowing it was time to move on, he stood up. The other one pointed to one of the many doors in the room and he walked towards it. He looked back and started to say something…
It will when it’s supposed to.
He nodded. “Thank you.” And he opened the door.