I Gotta Be Me
The other day a co-worker asked me, if it were possible, what three things I’d change about my life. I gave some sort of flippant reply, thinking it one of those silly, “what if” kind of questions that people come up with, mostly to kill time. I thought no more about it.
Until, that is, a few hours later. I realized that, as I’ve gotten a little older, [ Ed Note: The author adamantly refuses to clarify this statement is specific terms, so the accuracy of “a little older” can’t be verified for truthfulness] every couple of years I’ve stopped to look back over my life, trying to gain perspective on the direction life has taken me. [Ed Note: We know for a fact that the author is nearly neurotic about this and does it on a daily basis.] Ahem, as I was saying, on occasion, I do review the events of my life. And there are times when I’ve wished thing might have been different. [Ed Note: He’s quite neurotic about this also.] [Author’s Note: You can’t possibly know that, so mind your own damned business! Please!]
Anyway, on these occasions, I sometimes imagine how much better things would have been if, say, I’d been born into a wealthy, highly influential family, in a different place, [Ed Note: London, New York, Paris . . .], [Author’s Note: NOT Paris, now please, BUTT OUT!] chosen a different career, and on and on.
On the other hand, in recent years, I’ve spent time pondering the works of two saints, Benedict and Ignatius, and come to see that, in reality, my life is in God’s hands, and always has been. Things may not have been always ideal in every aspect, but in ways I don’t yet understand, it’s been perfect for me. In truth, I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the life I’ve lived. I have my own unique perspective on the world and have made, done both good and bad.
The answer to my friend’s question, then, is twofold. There are things I wish I’d done differently. There are many times when I could have been wiser, more mature, kinder, more compassionate, simply better. I don’t think there are many among us who wouldn’t say that. There are hurts I wish could have been avoided. I wish my father had lived just a few years longer, enough to see that I did, finally, fulfill his wish that I become a CPA, to my own great astonishment. Yet, there have been good times too, times when I acted maturely, wisely, compassionately. There have been times of accomplishment, achievement, joy.
Thinking it over, I’m not sure it’s good to wish for great changes in the way we’ve lived our lives and to wish it all magically to be transformed into some vague ideal existence. Sometimes, when I think about making such changes, I’ve realized that if things had been very different, I wouldn’t be who I am. For better or worse, I wouldn’t be me. I have to trust that somehow, God is able to work for good through all of the chaos and confusion of my life. I believe that, when God made me, he knew what He was doing. I marvel that he went ahead and made me anyway. So, I’ll take what I’ve been given, acknowledge the past, my own weakness, and look forward to doing better in the future. There’s nothing I’d change.
Oh, except maybe one thing. I might try to find a new editor. [Ed note: be my guest!]