Except in therapy and therapy homework, I don't usually spend a lot of time looking backward philosophically. Occasionally I wonder what I might have been like if a certain event had happened differently, and I add my memories to those of others when we're talking about what life was like back when.
However, I've just read two blogs where people talk about life changing events and one is sad, the other simply matter of fact.
I lost my first job as assistant editor of a trade magazine when they renamed the positions and didn't want a woman as editor. What if I had become editor, continued with the training I had, finished my degree in good time and stayed there for years? Certainly life would have been more stable, but I think of all the things I would have missed in my wandering, multi-careered, - well, hither, thither and yon - existence.
I would never had clung to a sign pole saying "Welcome to Arizona" with the wind almost flinging me sideways down a gully. I would never have met and enjoyed my first African American friendship as I finished me degree 18 years after I began. I would never have seen the lush fields of cotton (that I thought existed only in Mississippi) near Fresno, California; nor would I have driven through Needles, California/Nevada, at midnight without air conditioning and the temperature at 101. I would not have known the heartbreak of being betrayed by a woman lover when I was so far from home and support.
Who knows, I might never had have a woman lover, and certainly I would not have had the pleasure of living with the wonderful woman with whom I will celebrate 10 years of covenanted joys and sorrows this year.
I might never have considered seminary and certainly not so far away as Yale. Would I have gone mountain climbing in a semi truck - 10 wheels grabbing the dirt and pulling us up narrow little tracks meant for much smaller vehicles?
I would never have had the joy of working with the Hispanic community in goal-setting for their own organization - when I don't even speak much Spanish. Here we are on break during a day-long session - outside doing stretching exercises. What fun!
I've never been to a reunion where others had successful single or double careers and families and lives that appear nothing like mine. Would I have felt shame at my wandering? Possibly. But one thing I know: I am a success for I have loved deeply and shallowly and sideways and in retrospect, but I have loved most of the people who came across my wandering way. Isn't that what God calls each of us to do?