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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I would like to make a case against the old saying, "Hindsight is 20/20" because if that was true, I can think of a handful of things I would have done differently along the way by being able to quickly go back and reverse a decision I made.

I think if the statement is true, it's only true years after the event has passed. Only at the point when you can lay hurt feelings aside, be completely honest with yourself about what caused you to act the way you did about things, and stop questioning what caused the other party's actions to play out the way things did can you truly say that hindsight is 20/20. Otherwise, looking back is being filtered. And usually the filter is already tainted with too many other feelings, emotions, or speculations which makes anything you might take away from the experience invalid.

Directly after the event occurs, the emotions can range from relief to anger to pain to guilt. Maybe you think it was for the best. Maybe you think it's the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Maybe you're too afraid to feel anything about it all so you box it up and put it away on a high shelf where you won't think to look at it again for awhile. Maybe you obsess over every little detail, looking for answers and trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together. Maybe your pride kicks in and you refuse to acknowledge what YOU did that caused things to unravel or come together in such ways.

Then, a few weeks go by. You find that you are no longer remembering every little detail. Maybe you can go through most of the day before something causes you to remember. Maybe you have removed everything or everyone that would make you remember so it's like it never even happened.

Then, a few months or a year goes by. Maybe something triggers a memory like a song or a scent or a taste. And instead of feeling the same way, you feel almost the opposite. Pain is replaced with warmth. Happiness / joy is replaced with regret. Anger replaced with love. Pride replaced with humbleness. Relief replaced with sadness. And instead of shoving everything aside, you find yourself beginning to make peace with each piece as you break it down and look at it section by section. As you resolve one piece, you put it away, most likely to never see it again.

And then, what you have left at the end of the process is either complete resolution of understanding exactly what happened and why. Or, you are left with a few things that don't quite make sense. They haven't exactly been resolved. You're still not sure what happened or why it happened or who initiated the event. And you can't move forward or put it away never to look at again because it still doesn't make any sense.

It's then, only here at this point, can hindsight be 20/20. Only here can you truly say "This is what I should have done," "This is how I wish I had handled things," "Had I done this instead, this is where my life would have taken a different path or direction." The unfortunate thing about reaching this point, most of the time, is that what was once a crossroads has now become an intricate web and if you were to pull on that one loose string, everything you have done since that event would become unraveled in the process.

What this means for someone like me is that instead of having everything in my life neatly resolved and put away, there will have to be things that never receive the level of closure that I would prefer. Instead of getting to go back and get to the bottom of exactly what happened and what I could have, should have, might have, wished I had done...I have to accept that the past is behind me. Whatever lies back there in one way or another has led me to where I am today. And the love, forgiveness, and mercy extended to my life in spite of some very bad decisions are not to be taken for granted.

And the second chances to make things right are not to be squandered by being selfish and only thinking about myself. It's the chance to resolve and grow and be refined. If the chance is misused, it will end up being another crossroads leading to hindsight causing me to wish I had made a better decision when the event was occuring.

I hate repeating things I should have done better/known better in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. I do have things in my past that I wish I had done differently, but hopefully, I learned from my mistakes, repented for the things I really missed up on, and moved on. If not, chances are that God will bring up new situations to test me with until I get it right. I'm certainly glad for people who are patient with me.