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Posts Tagged ‘hindsight’

passover angelBack in the day when the Israelites were finally released from Egypt, it happened at great cost, the lives of all firstborn children and animals throughout the land (not to mention the previous nine plagues), except for those protected by God in Goshen: the chosen ones were passed over. How often are we passed over, thinking it’s a bad thing, when in reality, it is for a greater good?

On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. [Exodus 12:12-13]

So often, God’s timing is unclear in the moment. Only in hindsight, can we see the consequences.

I remember how disappointed I was when I was passed over for promotion after promotion in my work. And yet, looking back, the outcomes had their own blessings. In one case, a less challenging position offered me the opportunity to get a second Master’s degree. In another case, I was able to learn and grow in the cyber world and non-traditional librarianship (at the time). I learned what it meant to become an early adopter and to forge new paths in the computerized world. And later, another loss, merely opened a door that brought me back to my own community, where I now live, work, and worship. I am content here.

Perhaps it is a wisdom that comes with age and experience. The very thing that appears to be a calamity transforms into a grace.

Of course, in the Exodus time, the Israelites were saved from the grief of losing their firstborn children, but then they also left everything they knew to flee into a desert that challenged them daily. Not everyone was so sure that this passing over would come to good. Not all could not see that promised land of milk and honey; only those who embraced their faith in God.

It is no different today. I must believe in God’s ultimate plan for my good, or at the least, the good that may come after me because of where I live or how I live or the children I send forth into the world.

Today, in the New York Times, I read an OpEd piece by Frank Bruni, and although this piece was driven by his observations about age and wisdom in sports, specifically Peyton Manning, he included additional observations about maturity and our response to life events.

And it’s no accident that many of us, while remembering and sometimes yearning for the electricity of first loves and the metabolism of our salad days, don’t really want to turn back the clock. We know that for everything that’s been taken away from us, something else has been given. . . . We’re short on flat-out exuberance. We’re long on perspective. . . . Life is about learning to look past what’s lost to what’s found in the process . . . [Frank Bruni, Maturity’s Victories]

 

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John 4:10
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

How many times have I said this in hindsight: “If only I had known…” I have made a lot of stupid choices coming up. For instance, I think back to my senior year in high school (which I’m going through again with my son). Our family was very poor but I was such a really good student, I could have gone to any university, but I didn’t think it was an option, so I stayed in-state. If only I had known….

When I was working toward becoming a professional actress/model in my twenties, I had a zillion head shots taken, but I never even considered getting my hair and make up done professionally. It would have made a huge difference. If only I had known….

When we adopted our children, in first and second grade, one of them really struggled with basic concepts. It took over 3 years for us to figure out that he had a learning disability. He lost much valuable time. If only I had known…

My mother, who was extremely difficult and “eccentric,” came to live with us her last three years. It was during this time we discovered that she was bi-polar and probably had been all of her adult life. I can’t help but think how her quality of life (and ours) would have been improved with proper medical attention. If only I had known….

The Samaritan woman was faced with a choice and an opportunity to “know.” She could have walked away and ignored this Jewish man. Instead, she asked the next question. To know, we must ask. To learn, we must listen. To discover, we must look. To create, we must experiment. To love, we must risk.

Then, we too, can drink “living water.”

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