Not far from here is an extraordinary place I love to visit; the island of What If. Once you have been there, you never forget. It is a place where vivid colors abound, excitement bounces in every direction, and there is an unmistakable freshness in the air. I think I have seen you there too from time to time. We catch each others glance and smile widely as we breathe deeply, filling our souls with an unmatched newness. The future looks promising in this place, and all who stay long enough, leave with strength and energy, born out of optimism.
Seriously, we have all been there, whether it was as a young child, as a teenager spreading wings of independence or as an adult braving a new adventure. Can’t you just feel the excitement in your soul as you travel to that place of “What If?” Can’t you feel your pulse quicken and your blood pressure rise as you bring the memory to the front of your mind. Anything is possible on the island of What If, dreams become reachable and life is a sweet, sweet journey.
- represents possibility and opportunity.
- fires the imagination
- creates intrigue
- dares one to dream
- invites participation
- propels the human spirit forward
- captures the essence of hope
- offers joy
It’s a great place to be, wouldn’t you agree?
Yet, as exciting as this place is, there are those who choose to visit and leave as quickly as they arrived. The vivid colors are muted, doubt lurks in every direction and the air has a heaviness which makes breathing deeply a burden. I remember such occasions. Have I seen you there too? We don’t hold each other’s glance but merely shake our heads as we trudge through the alleys and back roads of complacency, wondering why the grass isn’t as green as we remembered. The cost is too high for us to stay, and we resign ourselves to settle for less than we once hoped for.
Sadly, we have all been there also. More than likely we never visited as a young child or a teenager. If you are like me, most of your visits have been during your adult life. We never intended our visits to turn out the way they did. Life has thrown us quite a few curve balls along the way, and we haven’t ended up where we thought we would be. Struggles have required more energy than we had to give, leaving us tired and our hearts bruised. Unfulfilled dreams have left behind embedded splinters, and where hope once sprouted, a sense of emptiness has taken root. We somehow forgot how to dream, how to look ahead, and life is a journey marked by disappointments and empty somedays.
- delights in excuses
- creates internal discord
- saps energy
- stifles desire
- steals peace
- thrives in isolation
- rehearses disappointment
- drags the human spirit backward
The differences are stark, yet subtle if we are not paying attention along the way. Perspective determines which “If” we will choose. It is not easy choosing to visit What If, but the benefits outweigh all the difficulties because the best things in life begin here.
- If Only I had a job becomes a new path to creativity and ingenuity in the face of What If.
- If Only my spouse would change becomes a fertile soil for planting mercy and grace in the reflection of What If.
- If Only I had more money becomes an opportunity for generosity and innovation when partnered with What If.
- If Only that person had not hurt me becomes a calling to trust one more time in the security of What If.
- If Only I would have said or done…..before it was too late becomes an avenue to forgive self and make a difference from this point on in redemption of What If.
- If Only I could lose this weight becomes a challenge toward action in the momentum of What If.
- If Only I could find that special someone becomes a season of inner contentment when in the companionship of What If.
Life’s hurdles begin to look surmountable and relationships become authentic and meaningful when we let our curiosity explore this unknown and unconfined place. Hope begs us to release our disappointments and tears bound by If Only, allowing us to move forward, accepting our flawed choices as an opportunity to heal, grow and simply “be.” Harsh judgements on others melt as genuine forgiveness paves the way for reconciliation. Excuses are tossed in the wind as we embrace the cool breeze of What If. The possibility of what might be sends a warmth through our body, releasing us from strife and doubt. I imagine you there. We catch a glimpse of the vivid colors once again. Our souls are stirred with anticipation. We catch each others glance and smile widely as we breathe deeply, filling our souls with an unmatched newness and permission to dream once again.
I’m ready to go, how about you?
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11