If I had only known…

This is a post from the Faith By Choice blog that I did several years ago. Today I find myself thinking about the same things. Questions, anger, pain…it’s all a part of what makes us human. But still, it is so hard sometimes. 

If I had only known then what I know now. I find that concept almost raging through my mind this morning. I was doing my morning routine and the thought came of something my mother had said and done and because at the time I didn’t react the way I would now, it flares up like a fire with gasoline thrown on it. And it hurts. Because I could have done more, could have been more.  But I didn’t know then what I know now.

I think of a job I had that, given the chance today I would be so good at, would have passion for. But back then, I couldn’t see, even in myself, what I could do, could be. And it hurts because there are so many years lost. And I will never be in that place again. But I didn’t know then what I know now.

I remember a friend who was struggling and we would talk, but I didn’t have the words that could impact, and one cold day my chance to ever talk with him again ended at his own hand. And he left behind his crumbled vision. Little children in a violent flash lost their daddy. And it hurts, because I didn’t have the words, didn’t see just how deeply his anguish went. But I didn’t know then what I know now.

I know this path of memories is not something I wrestle with alone. I know each one of us can look back and say with a sigh that goes straight down to the core of who we are – If only, IF ONLY, I’d known then what I know now.

Don’t let it drag you away from what you do know now. Don’t let it suffocate you with remorse and pain. Instead, remind yourself that we all walk in the knowledge we have. We make our choices, and we go on, and we live with the choices we make. They may direct us, and they can define us. But we always have choices, and as we learn, we must allow ourselves to accept the reality that we are not perfect, that others are not perfect, and that day by day, step by step, we go on, and we learn, and we apply what we’ve learned. We can’t bury ourselves in a carefully crafted life where we just float through the situations and people around us in an attempt to avoid further “mistakes”, inevitable pain, and, face it, hard-fought-for joy.

The mind is a powerful thing, created for a powerful purpose by a powerful God. I believe, I have seen, even in the most hurtful situations, that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28. But hearing that doesn’t help, not at first. It isn’t always easy to believe. It is hard to get beyond the depth of pain that can wrap itself around us, trying to blind us to sincere attempts at comfort from others, from God Himself.

You didn’t know then what you know now any more than I did. But God did. And He had a plan. He still does. My choice is to believe that. And because of that, when new pain and remorse crashes down on me and questions remain unanswered, when those memories of past pain want to suck the joy of life right out of me, I know that battles are won, and lost, in the mind.

So, my choice is Victory. Not in myself, never in myself, but in the One who created me and in Him alone.

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