On the Brink

IMG_0613This past weekend, I was in Chico, California, attending the college graduation of my niece, Shana, from California State University Chico. The same college my mom attended nearly sixty years ago. I find the continuity of that comforting for some reason. Maybe it’s the knowledge that there isn’t much that lasts in this world, but my niece walked the same campus, was probably in some of the same classrooms, long after her late grandmother.

I will admit, I was a little envious of these young people, all decked out in their graduation gowns and decorated caps—each a piece of artwork to showcase their individualities. There they were, on the brink of a whole new world, where anything is possible. If I could go back to that time in my life, armed with my present knowledge, would I do things differently?

You bet.

I would take my dream to be a writer seriously, rather than allowing doubt and insecurity to rob me of it, only to be struggling with it thirty years later. I’d enjoy each moment and  trust I was where God needed me to be and not focused on the next thing. I would understand that success has nothing to do with having to be the best, but striving to serve the most. And I would try and see others through God’s grace-filled lens rather than my own self-serving agenda.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time, armed with the knowledge and experiences we now hold? Because, if we had to start over without those things, it’s doubtful we’d do life better. Oh, we think we would, but it’s the circumstances we struggle through and our growing relationship with God that make us wiser today—or at least I hope we’re wiser.

And although I have some regrets in my past—like getting married at a very young age—I wouldn’t be who I am today otherwise. How could I regret my two wonderful children, a second marriage that’s better because we’ve both learned what not to do and Who to depend on or the experiences I’m now able to draw from in order to write what I do?

So, I suppose if I were given the opportunity to go back—even armed with the knowledge I have today, I’d have to pass. I may not have been following God’s path for me thirty years ago, but He’s taken those detours and placed me where I’m meant to be right now. It’s what I make of my life from this day forward that matters.

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