Life Is Not a Dress Rehersal

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I went to the funeral home today to say my good-byes and pay my respects to my cousin who passed away last Friday. She was 45.

I remember her as a person who smiled easily and laughed a lot. Family was important to her…but, she lived a hard life. She made choices that ultimately contributed to an early death and strained relationships with her children. And, I see some of her children making some of the same choices – most of us would probably call them mistakes – that their mom did.

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I sat up playing one of my favorite games, Mahjong solitaire. The particular game that I was playing online didn’t have a feature found on many versions: the undo button. I missed that feature because there were a couple of times when I realized, just a moment too late, that I’d made the wrong choice, chosen the wrong pair of squares to remove – that another pair of squares would have opened up a lot more choices. Better choices.

I don’t know if it was my cousin’s death – the end of a young life – or my own family life lately, which has involved a bit too much bickering and yelling, but I started thinking about that undo button.

Life doesn’t have an undo button.

The choices we make can’t be undone, even when, looking back, we can see a lot better choices that we could have made.

The choices we make affect our lives, and the lives of those around us, and the ramifications are often a lot more far-reaching than it might appear on the surface. The way we raise our children, the choices we make, the values we impart, can affect future generations for years to come.

I’ve seen some choices in my life that I’d like to undo. I can look back and see moments where my actions could have made my children closer to one another. I can see where I could have taught them, by example, better ways of dealing with anger and frustration, ways to be more grateful and less self-centered, times when I could have shown them God’s love, rather than a list of do’s and don’ts.

It’s often easy to look at someone else’s choices and tell ourselves that at least our choices aren’t that bad. I think that can be a cop-out, though. Poor choices are poor choices, no matter the degree. Obviously, some choices are more damaging, but when it’s in our power to choose between better and best, shouldn’t we choose best?

It’s easy to look back and see how you could’ve, would’ve, should’ve handled a situation, but, wouldn’t it make much more sense to simply, from the get-go, live life knowing that there is no undo button?

Feeling introspective today.

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8 Comments

  1. Indeed, I do wish there was an “undo” button on life. At this time of year, we can be quite thankful for the Incarnation. We may not be able to “undo” our bad choices, but I’m glad for grace since “love covers a multitude of sin”. I guess I’m a little introspective today, too.

  2. Well said. I guess there are some things that I wish I could undo…but if I’ve never experienced those things, I wouldn’t be the same person or think they way I do now…and I hope it’s for the better. In any case, it’s good to be reminded so that from here on out, I live as if there is no undo button! 🙂

  3. Life would be so much easier and less painful if there was an undo button. It does make the bad decisions a little easier to swallow when I remind myself that God used those bad decisions to shape where I am and who I am today.

  4. I have do a ton of things that I regret and will probably never forgive myself for. So, yes, I wish there was an undo button but I am so thankful for God’s grace and for another tomorrow. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin.

  5. I like Deep Thoughts with Kris 😉

    I’ve thought recently about the difference in good and best in making choices. Sometimes it’s just easier to choose the good because the best takes more work.

    There have been many times when I’d like to call a do-over, so to speak. Dh and I talked at length last week about things we’ve been doing with the big boys that we probably need to change. Paying more attention to their hearts and not as much to that list of dos and don’ts.

    I hope your day of baking and togetherness goes well. We miss seeing you guys!

  6. I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments. I agree that even our not-so-stellar choices shape who we are. It’s like a domino effect and changing one thing would affect a whole host of things.

    I am thankful for God’s grace and the fact that love does, indeed, cover a multitude of sins.

    I guess the key is trying to remain cognizant of how our individual choices affect others and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our choices.

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