“You know,” he began as we drove home, “I wouldn’t trade you and the kids for the world…but if I had it to do differently, I don’t think I’d have moved in with you when I did.” –He was talking about 7 1/2 years ago, when I hastily asked my then-boyfriend if he wanted to move in. Truth is, as soon as I’d said the words “Guess you could always move in here,” I’d regretted them, frantic at what my parents would think (not even taking the time to consider what I thought). It was one of those you can’t go back now moments – someone was going to get angry and hurt no matter what.
“But if I had it to do differently…” The words echoed in my ears. Truthfully, there are probably a million things I would love to be given a chance at a do-over in my life. But then it occurred to me: What if life wasn’t really made up of mistakes and victories, or failures and successes? –What if it was simply a series of choices, some of which may not turn out quite the way we’d hoped? I’m not proposing that sin doesn’t exist (it does), but what if some of our less-than-great ideas weren’t really mistakes, just choices?
My husband had begun the conversation, meaning only that he would have waited. He wouldn’t have been so hasty. He would have saved his money and…. But, the truth is: Neither of us were the people we are today. Seven-and-a-half years ago, my sweet husband hadn’t yet learned some of the financial wisdom he now knows and understands. Back then, he would’ve made promises to save for our future, but as soon as the first pretty toy came along, his savings would’ve been depleted. I would’ve seen him as a flake. Dishonest. Bad news. I wouldn’t have stayed around long enough to get engaged, and would probably not be with him today. We wouldn’t have gotten married. We wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pull through some really rough times together. We wouldn’t have these two beautiful girls together…and we wouldn’t be building this amazing life together.
It’s easy to say from the outside looking in that the choices we made were a mistake. And while some of the choices we’ve made may lack a certain degree of wisdom, proclaiming them a mistake is extremely short-sighted, because none of us can see from one brush-stroke what the masterpiece will be when it’s finished.
How silly is it to judge who I was (or others!) by who I am today? Who I was 5 months ago is VERY different than who I am today…much less who I was 7 years ago. Wisdom rarely comes easy, it’s our “mistakes” or the consequences of our choices that break us down only to build us up, making us stronger, wiser, and more compassionate people.