the sins of my youth

There is something about transitions– moving, marriage, break-ups, deaths, births, –that makes us examine ourselves, or causes memories, thoughts to surface, and we have to deal with them. Some of them I’d rather ignore, like too many lost weekends in college when the freedom I truly thought I already knew was far more than I could handle– keg parties, skipping classes (not for long), being the farthest from my family than I had ever been and that first Easter I could not get home. I was beside myself.

Not many of these have escaped my thoughts and generally surface in the wee hours, 1, 2 or 3 a.m., when there is nothing but dark, which may be the kindest time, with no glaring light to overexpose them into the garishness they were, or are now that I know better. Bad choices in relationships and hanging on too long, disrespect toward my mother and father, not to a degree worthy of incarceration but such that I feel remorse and now can do nothing about. Opportunities I did not take for whatever reason, that I sometimes wonder, what if?? or if only…

The worst of these have been my fears and indifference. Situations I allowed to escalate because of fear of making things worse and did not step in, or times where leave well enough alone was the best course and I did not, mucking about until it became distorted beyond its original chaos. The indifference is what scares me most I think. Times when I became dispassionate about something very important to me because my meager efforts had proved fruitless and I became discouraged or, worse, decided whatever I could do would not be enough and therefore did nothing.

Sometimes we have no idea I think of the effect we have on life. I know much has been said about the “butterfly effect” where something so seemingly insignificant as the blithe flap of a paper wing creates a tsunami on the other side of the world. Who knows? We rail and beat ourselves silly about things that do not matter much, and barely give a nod to those that do. Or we agonize over choices we make, never knowing the outcome or consequence or result of that which is not chosen, and wonder if the choice we made would matter as much as the one we did not.

Isaiah 30:21


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