What If?

What If?

         An Open Letter to Readers

                                                                   from Bishop Michelina T. Foster

Dear One Born to Choose,

Ever wonder what if?  What if I had chosen that job (or been chosen for it) instead of the one which I currently have?   What if I had married so-and-so instead of _______?  What if I had remained single?  What might have happened if I had moved to another city/country?  Did I really follow my heart…. Or react to my fear of rejection,  or the unknown?

The older we get, the more we can look back on our lives and wonder what might have happened if we had made ‘other choices’.  The young possess a type of tunnel vision because they haven’t lived long enough to understand the ramifications of choice: the big picture.   Sometimes ‘ramifications’ from these choices seem to bring blessings and at other times a curse.

At times it seems that the very people within the sphere of our lives are the ones who – because of our reaction to their influence upon us – create these changes.  Once in a while it is the fact of their negativity which causes us to choose one path or another:  an expansion toward life or a downward spiral towards death.  Many times, we choose our path without hesitation or conscious awareness of our motivation.  In dire times it may be only a choice for our own survival – and that is also a good choice.  We survive to ‘fight another day’… as the saying goes.

Choice is a gift.  At times it appears as a good gift and at other times the cause of a horrid chain of events which – had we foreseen it – we would have rejected with all our might.  Sometimes ‘our might’ is not enough to turn the tide of events.  These are the times from which we learn who we are, what we stand for, what we love, whom we serve, and the depth of our strengths.  We may also learn that the ‘strength’ we can draw from is not always our own.

Life has a way of interweaving people, situations, challenges, love, duty, and regrets in such a way that we pass from one set of obligations to another, like walking through the rooms of a large house unaware of our spatial location.  By the end of the tour, we’re not sure which picture or chair was in which room or the color of the wall paper pattern.  We seem to be merely following our guide who was talking away while we were observing other articles and items along the journey.  Yet we chose to take the tour, and unless we were asked outright if we wanted to go ‘upstairs to the attic’ or merely ‘peruse the dining quarters’, we are functioning – as it were – mostly as observers of life… semi-participating, and going with the flow….

Here is where it gets interesting.  It isn’t until we are face-to-face with a life-changing course of events that we, for a few heartbeats, “wake up” and see that we are really choosing everything with which we come in contact.  The old Yogis often say that most of humanity is ‘sleepwalking.’  We live our lives discharging our duties and unless life ‘hits us on the head’ we work and serve on in our own small world.  What would it be like to be ‘awake’ 100% of the time?  (Don’t think humanity is ready for that one yet!)

The Greeks believed in the Three Fates who forever wove on the loom of life all of Mankind’s fates.  Each thread was a human being who was woven back and forth across the loom amid all the other strands of life:  the people they met, the life challenges they incurred, the decisions they made were all part of the pattern on the Great Loom of Life.  Yet, there were areas where the thread was thinner, or broken, or where the pattern was uneven and these Great Beings themselves were out of their league in their ability to repair it.  Perhaps these are our “what if” times?  The pattern changes: we need to be ‘re-knotted’ or repaired for a greater design and direction in this incarnation.

Are we ready to accept the challenge?  Again, it is important to remember that the strength upon which we draw is not always ours alone.  We can draw upon the Eternal One, the Master of Our Life, to walk beside us, carry us at times perhaps, guide us, and grant us Peace.  Sometimes this strength is granted to us via family, friends, a pet, or a stranger.  The ways of the Great Ones are  unbounded – and unperceived by our limited earth-type brain. We may be looking in the wrong place or to the wrong individual for inspiration.  We need to learn to be open to the full radiance of Life.

Life is full of ‘what ifs.’  If a “what if” occurs – how will it impact upon the next “what if?”  You would not be the person you are today if just one change of direction had happened in your life.  Do you have a job you enjoy?  Have you raised a child?  Did you write a book?  Become a priest?  Followed an interesting individual who expanded your views on life?  Loved someone dearly?  Lost a good friend or  acquaintance over the years through death or a move?  Read a book and received at least one good idea from it?   Heard an excellent line in a movie which gives you inspiration?   Remember a hysterically funny incident?

Any one of the above could have been a ‘crossover point’ in your life…. And you chose your reaction to it … on some level.  Your choice has made you the person who is sitting here with me, and reading this letter.  Our paths crossed too….

The important question is:  Are you satisfied with the person you are today?  If not, draw on the strength of the Inner Master… for you again stand at a crossing point.  Where time and eternity ‘cross’ - a cross is manifested.  Stretch out your arms and allow the cross to become an opening, a doorway, for Love, Light, and Power.


Michelina T. Foster

Michelina T. Foster
is the author of several books, including Seasons of the Soul:  A Bishop's Letters.  She is also a Bishop of the Free Church of Antioch.



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