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.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.