A “but what if..” moment

by hillarymay

“The truth never becomes clear as long as we assume that each one of us, individually, is the center of the universe. We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others. What do I mean about loving ourselves properly? I mean, first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and a great good, not because of what it give us, but because of what it enables us to give to others.” 

Thomas Merton, “No Man is an Island” 

Someone asked me last night what I would do if I was given a second chance to attend another university, and I thought about it for a very long time afterwards. Sometimes I catch myself wondering what my life would have been like had I made different decisions. What if I had decided to quit tennis in high school rather than in  college? Would I have pursued other things and discovered other talents? What if my family lived elsewhere? What if I had decided to follow the path of an English teacher? What if I had decided never to attend Taylor? Would I have had better opportunities elsewhere? What if I would have spent my time in D.C. differently? And still, will my return home be fruitful or will it prove wearisome? 

And yes, all of these questions do not necessarily matter, for I am where I am.  But I can’t help but wonder, and I can’t help but ache a little for what those other possibilities would have led to. It is not that I am uncertain of my place in life, I am simply trying to understand the positive importance of every decision, of every success and of every failure I have had thus far. But indeed I am thankful, to be sure. This topic simply seems to be more at the forefront of my mind with my departure looming. And I am contented to sit back and watch it unfold.