There aren’t that many in my life, but there are certain points, certain moments, when I desperately want a do-over – another chance, a time re-set – to do again, to do better, that which went awry before.
It’s not the moments you might expect – a marriage choice that did not stand the test of time . . . important acts of kindness missed . . . the chance to have harsh words recalled . . . it would be nice if I had done differently, but I didn’t, and consequences are a part of life too.
No – what I want for my do-overs, is the chance to begin certain conversations again, to start afresh without the ringing of (my own) false words in my ears – false not because untrue; false because beside the point.
I want a do-over to recast what becomes an argument into something else, something more important, something more true . . . like a prayer . . . or a gentle question . . . or even a silence.
I want, in my do-overs, the wisdom to remember a few things, things like:
1. What worked for me might not work for you.
2. Logic is not the place from which most of us make up our minds.
3. Discussion about people not in the room is, perhaps, never wise, seldom kind or loving.
4. When encouraging you to look through the lens of love to make a decision, I must make sure that I am looking through that same lens when beholding you.
5. Words have weight as well as meaning and sometimes (most times) less of them is better.
6. My epiphanies are not (necessarily) yours.
So in my most recent do-over desire, the first time around, I am in a room with a handful of other folk and we are convened to discuss what the church, our local incarnation of it, will do; what the bible has to teach us, how we read and understand this thing we call God’s Word.
It quickly becomes not a conversation, but a debate, the thing I had prayed so hard would not happen, happened. And it is (largely) my fault, my responsibility.
How could I do it differently?
In so many ways.
But I didn’t. I got sucked in. I forgot the things I already know – silence is as much a part of a conversation as are words . . . questions matter even more than answers . . . a word from (as opposed to of) God is something that must be waited for . . . breathing room matters . . . my understandings need to be shared (if at all) as just that – mine . . . the Spirit doth move across a group yet requires the space to do so . . . sound, like fury, signifies – well, not much.
It wasn’t horrible. No one died. No one stormed out. And lots will be percolating in the days to come. But somehow, against all my own plans and desires, I ended up back where I never wanted to be – in a debate rather than a prayer.
For that, O Lord, I would so appreciate a do-over.