IF…..A Very Powerful Word:
I have been sitting here thinking about what my life would be like if….
Don’t we all do that?
What would have happened if….I had only gotten to that intersection a few moments later, or earlier…,
Who would we be now if…I had been able to finish my degree….,
Where would I live now if…We hadn’t lost *everything* due to my injuries….,
Who would be near us now… If my Pain or Illness hadn’t driven them all away…
Who would I be now if…I wasn’t so broken and living in terrible pain….
If. A very powerful word. It allows us to look back at our decisions and circumstances and see all of the alternatives. Most of the time we use if in introspection of the past, but on occasion we use it to help us choose between possible outcomes in the future. (What would happen if….., I called in to work today?, I wear shorts instead of pants?, I just lie here and never move again?)
I am as guilty of it as anyone. Maybe more so. After all, when all you have is hours upon hours of nothing but sitting or lying down, punctuated by brief bursts of physical agony/activity, you have a LOT of time to go through the List of If’s.
Most of the time I try and stay away from the ‘If’ word. It is just too depressing. It rates right up there with ‘used to’ and ‘would have’ on my list of painful thoughts. My life has changed so drastically over the past five or six years that I had no idea there was any possibility I could end up here. Most of what I try and do to cope now deals with mitigating the fact that my own personal “If” lists have had the word ‘only’ added to them. My house would be clean if only…., The lawn would look awesome if only…, I could treat my wife better if only…., We wouldn’t have to fight so hard to stay afloat if only…..
Thoughts like these often throw me into a spiral of doubt and depression. This can last for days. After all I ‘used to be’ (another set of dark and powerful words….) young, strong and pretty much in control of my life! I owned my own business, set my own hours, and made enough money that my wife never had to leave my side unless she wanted to. My business was growing by leaps and bounds and the future was bright! Then I got hurt and all that came to a sudden crashing end! And here I am. Broken. Unable to do for myself, much less for anyone else. I am trapped in a body that can no longer understand pleasure, only pain. Blood curdling, bone crushing, mind twisting pain! Helpless to change the world around me.
And then I try and remember to insert yet another powerful pair of words: Can Still. I can still…. do small things to make it better…., cook beautiful, tasty meals…., give a pretty mean back rub…, GO CAMPING!!!
And that is where I try and stay. In the ‘can still’ stage. And now, if you don’t mind too very much, I am going to go and see if I can still make dinner and fold a few clothes. 🙂 ……………………………………