Even if you fall short, there is something gorgeous and life-changing in the going for it. Yes, you may splat on the side of a mountain, never have all of what you envision, of what moves your heart and your feet to do and go where others fear to tread, to go into the territory of the amazing, the place where it all doesn’t make sense but yet makes the most sense of anything you’ve ever known. If you go for it, you will know what many wish they did. You will know the answer to the question, ‘what if’ and there is a tremendous peace in this. I seldom hear someone say, ‘I wish I’d never tried,’ but I have heard a fair share of ‘I wonder what would have been different if I had…….’
I know from painful outcomes that things don’t always turn out like I would hope, but it is pain all the same when I endure the aftermath of refusing to try. Timing is important, yes, and things are not always in place to pursue that which rustles around within us in our quiet moments… a business idea, a job change, a relationship with someone. But I think it is also true that it is far too easy to let opportunities slip away and let our life slip away without realizing it, until something wakes us up and we see that the amazing could have been ours. Someone else acted on the business idea that we thought about but never put into play. Someone else chose to love the one to whom we did not open our hearts. Opportunity knocks but it doesn’t wait out on the porch forever. It will find a door that will open somewhere else.
I have both missed opportunities and have been open to something or someone when it/they weren’t open to me, and later came back to say that they felt that they had made a mistake. It is not that I do not understand, but it seems a rare and elusive thing to sync up from there. Although it is possible, it is not always meant to be again what it might have been once. Time passes, hearts that might have set out in the same direction are at different places, out of step, the ship that once was full of promise has sailed.
You never know what might have been, but if you have done your part, if you have tried and put yourself in as fully as you could, it is okay that it passed you by. There will be another opportunity, another time, another someone. The broken road may seem to be an endurance course but if we give ourselves to opportunities, risk and invest in business, work, love, people, ideas that call us and challenge us to grow, we will at times surely lose. At least we will lose the idea of how we thought it should go, but endeavoring to answer ‘what if’ promises that we will view this question as a creative question rather than a question of regret. It will be a question to be met head on, facing forward, not a question laden with grief and loss. It is a question that will place us square in the territory of the amazing and of great loss at the same time. But that is where a great life is created.
Our lives, each of our lives, are meant to be creative. We are meant to create not sometimes but all the time… relationships, love, babies, families, homes, meals, community, beautiful things to look at, eat, experience. We are not meant for stagnation, for coasting, for neglecting beauty and creativity. We are meant to live life in a beautiful world, to be beautiful in our hearts and souls. To create a world where each person can wake up and know beauty also, no matter where they are or where they come from.
It is not humble to play small. It is a loss to ourselves and others. There will be, is, a space where each of us is to be. It is an empty side of a bed that is yours to fill. It is an invention that is swirling in your thoughts; an invention that will allow suffering communities to heal and thrive. It is a work of art that you have yet to complete that will change how someone sees the world, the meaning of their life, their own contribution. That idea, that hope, that love stirring in your heart, and the return of love and sense of purpose you hope for… it is not random or meaningless. It is yours for a reason. Answer the question, ‘what if’ not in the rearview mirror, but facing forward with curiosity each day. What if… live in the beautiful, creative mess of the answer.