If Only

IMG_0042If wishes made fishes, we’d  have a fish fry.            
Author unknown

Hindsight has shown me that many of the decisions my spouse and I have made over the years did not end up as we had hoped.  We especially seem to have a penchant for choosing workers for home repair and remodeling who do less than desirable work.  Each time we thought we were choosing reputable companies.  For example, several summers ago, we had a water leak under the slab of our utility room.  The plumber didn’t tell us that there were options to jackhammering up the floor to get to the leaky pipe.  We had never run into this kind of situation before, so we didn’t know that some plumbers can cap off the offending pipe and reroute the water lines through the attic.  As it was, we ended up having to replace all the tile in the utility room and the kitchen. 

With situations like this, it’s so easy to try to relieve my discomfort by taking it out on my spouse.  If I’m not careful, I may find myself making some subtle, or not so subtle, comments that thinly veil my desire to blame him.  

The truth of the matter is that I blame myself.  The I-should-have-known mantra plays through my head. I slap myself against the forehead and exclaim, “If only.”  I may not be so dramatic as this; however, I have caught myself lamenting my choices on many occasions — often these sneaky little thoughts are so subtle that they just creep into my thinking without my awareness.  And, before you know it, I’m beating myself up for being so “stupid.”  Now this makes no sense at all.  My decisions may appear to be “wrong” in hindsight; however, this does not negate the fact that I made the best decision I could have with the information I had at the time.

No matter how often I replay a situation in my head, it’s not going to change.  So, all my efforts to beat myself up or to hope I can still make it “right,” leave me depressed and limp with fatigue. What possible purpose is served by my wishing I’d done differently.  When I’m under the spell of these devious thoughts of “if only,” my energy is depleted as I spray it into the world around me — after I’ve effectively run it through this negative energy converter.  These thieves rob me and my relationships of peace and happiness.

So what to do? This question answered before I had finished it.  The Serenity Prayer never fails me when I finally surrender my destructive thoughts to its healing power.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

As this prayer aligns my thoughts with sane thinking, my shoulders and brow relax and all things look lighter and brighter — even a new tile floor.

Today I will be vigilant for the sneaky “if only” varmint in my head and refuse to give it entrance into my thinking.  I will accept the grace of the Serenity Prayer, or another prayer of my choosing, that I may move in a gentle world that blesses me with serenity..   


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