What might have been

by Heather


… Look for the road that everyone’s on, and don’t follow. –Robert Downie

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Nicole,

Earlier this week I read your blog for the first time, with pleasure, and the next morning when I woke, I wanted to respond to your post about what might have been.

Perhaps most of us have had those moments in our lives when we look back, and realize that the choices we’ve made, and those that seem to have been made for us, the things that worked out, and all those that didn’t, have carved out the path of our lives, and left many other possibilities behind in the dust.

I love old houses, and I like to think of lives as being like them. I can’t have every feature I love in one old house. I can’t have an English cottage-style house (which I do have) with a red tile roof (which I don’t). In the same way, we can’t cram everything into a single life … we can’t have every experience every time out of the gate. That’s what I tell myself when I think about the experiences I haven’t had this time around–yet. Some doors are now closed–but of course, so many possibilities remain open.

When I read your story, what came to my mind is this … as a new chapter of your life beautifully opens, its blank page ready for you to write it … what if what you and your soulmate have accomplished thus far is exactly what you came here to do? If you could see the plans you both laid out right now–and I assume you did lay them together–what if you’ve passed every test with flying colors? Done exactly what your souls intended?

Now I don’t know, of course, what your souls intended–there’s a lot I don’t know about what my very own soul intended. But to me, this seems like a real possibility. What seems like futility to our finite eyes may not be at all. Sometimes we choose to build the muscles of the soul in unexpected ways. I do know this–what we do with love is never wasted.

I think it’s so important to look back at key junctures, and mourn what might have been, but isn’t. It seems to me a crucial part of being able to freely move forward into the future, leaving the past right where it belongs.

As you close this chapter, though, it seems to me that it might be fair to write at the bottom of the last page–Unqualified success.

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made this past New Year’s Eve, My path (2014).