I was talking with a friend recently about all of the changes that have occurred in my inner life as a result of my having moved back out to the country. Nothing has worked out exactly as I had planned, but, then, what does? Somewhere it is written that when man plans, God laughs. Sometimes we don't get exactly what we want, we get what we need (I think the Rolling Stones sang about that). What I needed was to be physically and spiritually in the place that my heart could call home. All the other things, like discovering I actually like the "new" country music, that I can spend a Sunday afternoon sitting outside just listening to the silence and being okay with that, were unexpected gifts. What I also discovered along the way was that those things I am passionate about or committed to have nothing to do with where I live geographically, but where I live spiritually. So I began to wonder: "What if I had grown up in the country from the beginning? What if I had been raised as a good old country girl? Would I still be me?
I think the words, "What If," are the two most powerful words in the English language. "What if" has been the prerequisite for some of the world's most important discoveries and inventions. They have given birth to art, music, science, and humanity's greatest potential realized. Every new idea or invention started out with "what if?" They have also been the lead in to every fear and excuse not to pursue our dreams and make those discoveries: "What if I fail? What if I'm not good enough? What if people laugh at me? What if I'm wrong?"
I started thinking about all the things that are important to me. If I had been raised in the country, would I still be a vegan? Would I have gone through all of the heartache and longing that colored the majority of my adult life to be somewhere else, someone else? Would I have become a writer anyway and would it have happened sooner? Or did I require all of the experiences and color of the life I lived in order for me to recognize happiness and joy when I found it? What if I had not fallen last summer and fractured my leg, requiring me to find a home without stairs, and what if my friend did not just "happen" to have the perfect place available in the exact place where I wanted to live? What if I stopped asking what if and gave thanks instead for what is?
I think perhaps that it's not so much the words "What If" as it is the words that follow. They are the modifiers that turn "What If" into an adventure that gives us a peek at our own greatness and all that we can be. If we can say "What If" and feel that twinge of excitement at the pit of our stomachs that tell us we're on the right track, then it doesn't matter what came before, only what is in front of us.
What if I get this blog posted and go outside to watch the starlings soar and play instead of doing the laundry?
And so it is.