It is the end of another year, and almost time to start a new one. Like most people, I think back on the events of the past 365 days and smile at the good memories or cry at the sad ones. Of course, I can’t stop right there; so I take it a step further. I wonder at what the year might have been like if I could have rewritten it. What about going even further back? What if God would have allowed me to script my entire life story from beginning to end? What would my year 2013 have looked like?
I’m sure you’re telling me by now that I have completely lost all my wits and senses. Duh, anyone knows that you can’t rewrite your life, but just play along for right now. Say that God really did allow you to write a plot, but instead of some fictional character experiencing it, you were able to live it.
I would definitely begin by making a list. A big, long list, full of good and happy and wonderful things. Then I would put that list into an outline of my life. The outline would be as follows: I. Birth and Childhood, II. Teenhood, III. Young Adult Life, IV. Middle Age Life, and V. Senior Years. I would then put my list of lovely things in their proper places under each roman numeral. My entire life would be filled with money, love, fame, friends, health, and education.
I would be born into royalty somewhere with all the finest of material possessions surrounding me during my childhood. My teenhood would be spent with lots of friends, an expensive car, and constant parties. Young adulthood would see me off at the very best university receiving a degree, traveling the entire world to see all the places that regular people only dream of visiting, and of course, about this time Prince Charming would show up and sweep me off my feet. The middle-aged years would find me contentedly raising a small family, writing, painting, and singing at my leisure in an adorable forty-room chalet with its own house-sized library, sculptured gardens, indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, and personal staff. Senior years would have me as an elegant grandmother doting upon her beautiful grandchildren, throwing lavish parties that were the pride of the city, growing gracefully older with the love of my life growing older beside me, and then peacefully drifting away to Heaven in my sleep after all else had been accomplished.
Are you wondering about the sad and horrible things yet? Really? Do you think I would actually put death, sickness, pain, and suffering in my own story? Think again- this is my choice, and my choice will not include anything unhappy.
This story is not just this simple though, I was caught up short when I realized that if I would have been born into royalty I would have never met my family. Imagine all the hugs, security, conversations, and laughs that would have never happened if I hadn’t met my father, mother, and brother. With countless money and everything that I could ever want, I would have never experienced that special joy that comes from receiving a long-awaited American Girl doll that was promised for Christmas if I got perfect A’s the first half of the school year. That doll was a treasure, and I felt like I owned the world. The more I think about things, the more I realize how different everything would be if I was in charge of the story. Even though I think I know the perfect plot; sadly enough, there is a lot of happiness that I would have missed out on. I would have never experienced being a counselor and choir director at girls’ camp because I would have been too busy traveling the world. I would have never met so many of my friends at a little Bibleschool located in the backwoods of Pennsylvania if I had been attending Cambridge University.
Even some of the bad moments are ones that if I had the choice to cut out of my story, I don’t know if I would really want to. No, I would not want to relive those times; but I would not necessarily want to eliminate them from my history. For about six years of my life, I literally lived on the road. Most of my life was spent in the back of a truck instead of in a house. My father had started hauling sheds, and his runs were long-distance. He did not want to be away from his family; so we all made an unanimous decision to go with him. My brother and I left school and were homeschooled with the A Beka Academy d.v.d.’s. I won’t lie; those times were very hard. There was a lot of stress and a lot of tears. I remember creeping through bad weather watching cars and trucks piling up around us, praying that a permit would come through so that we could stay on schedule, hoping that DOT would eventually let us go after spending hours inspecting the truck and looking for problems, and trying to help push a shed into an impossible space. I would watch Dad fight to stay awake so that he could get through a certain area before their over-size load time restrictions came into effect. Mom would spend many hours over the finances trying to make things reach, and then about that time there would need to be an expensive repair made to the truck.
No, I wouldn’t want to relive those times; but yet I want to keep those memories because along with the hard times there were a lot of bonding and happy times. I had the unique opportunity to travel through all of the states except Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, and North Dakota. I received a far-better education than I would have had by staying in school. I spent hours talking with Dad and growing into a new admiration of my father. Mom always made sure we went sightseeing or did something special after we got our load delivered; so because of her love for us children, I got to visit Mexico, see the Grand Canyon, ride to the top of the Louisiana Arch, hold parrots in Parrot Jungle, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Focus on the Family and eat at the Adventures of Odyssey ice cream parlor, go to Quebec’s Zoo, admire Wyoming buffalo, tour a deserted ghost town, eat frybread at a Native American Reservation, and walk upon the Mayflower.
But there are those times that do not have any good memories attached, those times that would truly not be missed from my past. Yes, if I could, I would skip those things. But those deaths or times of betrayal by friends have formed me into who I am today. I have cousins that grew up with a mentally and physically handicapped sister. It wasn’t easy for them; people made mean remarks, but those cousins are the most amazing people I know. They allowed the hard things in their life to shape their character into something beautiful.
No, we really can’t rewrite our lives; and I’m pretty sure that if we could, it wouldn’t turn out as great as we think it would. God has surrounded our lives with the people, family, and events near us for a purpose. We wouldn’t be us if it wasn’t for the way our story has been scripted. In the movie, The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, Lucy wishes that she could be just like her older sister, Susan. When she gets the chance to make her wish come true, she takes it. However, she eventually realizes that if she was Susan, there would have never been a Lucy. All the specialness and uniqueness that she brought into this world would no longer be there.
People have wondered for generations why a loving God allows bad things to happen. People have also tried to answer that same question for generations. It’s easy to say that it’s because of sin’s entrance into the world that brought everything bad or that God allows everything for a purpose which we can’t see now; but when those life-shattering things happen there seems to be no consolation. Yes, we can’t rewrite our life. You have no way of cutting out the history that remembers your father walking out the door to never come back, the friend that was killed in the car crash that was your fault, or the neighbor that took advantage of your young innocence. God doesn’t delight in those things that haunt us yet, but He does want us to use those moments to create a better us. If we give in to bitterness about all the bad that has happened to us, our future will only be dark and gloomy; but if we use those painful things to better us and help others, our future will be peaceful and joyful. No, we can’t escape the pain that even awaits us in the future; but we can ask God to walk beside us and fill our hearts with the peace and joy that can bring us through the darkness triumphant.
Some things that happen are because we made the wrong choices. Sometimes we need to face the consequences. David suffered the rest of his life because of his sin with Bathsheba. So although we can’t rewrite our life, we can have some choice in writing our future. We make the wisest decisions that we can, and then let the rest in God’s Hands. He seems to be the best at planning the future anyways. I think when we finally have the chance to see the whole extent of our lives and how it has even affected other lives, it is going to leave us speechless; because not even our greatest writings will come close to what the Author of all human life has penned for our past, present, and future!