Ishmael's Blog

August 4, 2009

What If?

Filed under: What If? — Ishmael @ 12:08 am

Have you ever said, “I wish I could go back and undo …”  I have, many times, but you need to beware of the Law of Unintended Consequnces.

The Law of Unintended Consequences states that actions of people always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.  If you would like to see a very good example of this, rent the movie Butterfly Effect.

You need to be aware that every decision you have made in the past , good or bad, has made you what you are today.  If you went back into the past and made your change, what would happen to the people around you, the people you have met over the years, the lives you have changed.

I should have died several times in my life, but didn’t.  When I was in high school I should have died in a car accident.  Later in San Francisco someone pulled me back just before I would have been run over by a trolley car.  I had been living in Japan for a year and looked the wrong way before stepping out into the street.  When I lived in Puerto Rico, I should have drowned but I made it back to shore just fifty feet from the tip of a point of land, and had to have my wife help me up onto the shore.  It was two miles to the next nearest point of land.  I wouldn’t have made it.

Let’s look at what would not have happened:

If I had died in the car accident or by the trolley, my daughter and son would not have been born.  All of the people their lives have touched would be the worse for me dying. 

My daughter would not have married her husband, the little girl they adopted and the children they are legal guardians for would not have a loving home and the children would not call my wife and I Grandma and Grandpa.  They would have someone who is not as caring watching over them, or they would be dead.  I know two of them would be.

My son would not be married to a woman who makes him laugh, who makes him whole, complete.  He wouldn’t even be alive.

My wife and I had thirteen foster children over the years, (when we were a lot younger).  At one point we were watching two boys, and their older brother was in another home elsewhere in town.  We had the other boy and his foster parents over to our house for dinner, and the brother and I got along really well.  They all had to go back to live with their Mom, (no Dad being around), and moved to a different state.  That Christmas my wife and I made each of the boys a Christmas present and mailed it off to them.  We made the items because we didn’t have a whole lot of cash ourselves.  I made the older boy, (his name is Billy by the way), a cassette tape of his favorite type of music.  That was the only Christmas present they got that year, from anyone.  In January of that year he called me and said he was thinking of dropping out of high school because he just couldn’t handle the situation at home.  I talked to him for a long time and convinced him that that was not a good idea, that he had managed to hold it together for this long, that his brothers needed him, and he should wait a few more months until he graduated.  He did, then he went into the Army.  He called me from New Jersey every month.  When he completed his Active Duty he went back to live with his Mom and help take care of his younger brothers.  He would come to Spokane on his duty weekends, call me and I’d go and pick him up and we’d go for a burger, or a show and talk.  He said he was going to try and find his Dad and I said that was a good thing.  I got a call from him several months later and he had found his Dad. His Dad was glad Billy had found him and was going to help him go to college, he took up Robotics at Washington State University.  That was the last we heard from him.  This is/was a good thing and it wouldn’t have happened if I had died.  I wish him well.

These are just a few of the examples of how things could change.  If you went back and changed just one thing; if you had died at any given point in your life or made a different decision, play the What If game.  What would not have happened, good or bad, to others?  You do make a difference, you would be missed.

What If you had died in an accident years ago? 
How would other’s lives have been changed?
Tell me.

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