March 31, 2005

Hindsight is 20/20 But you Cannot Change the Past

Within the last two days visitors to this blog have seen a number of different things, posts about sex and the impact children have upon it, earthquake news and a couple of cuts off of U2's album The Joshua Tree.

It is one of my favorite albums. It came out my senior year of high school and it always brings me nothing but good feelings and great memories. If I close my eyes I can see myself at the beach. There is a group of 25 or 30 of us, girls in bikinis and all of the guys listening to the album.

It is one of those moments imprinted on my brain. It is May and we're listening to Where The Streets Have No Name. In a short time we are going to graduate and we're all going to head off to college and the song just feels so right.

My girlfriend and I have recently broken up and I am staring hard at a couple of the girls, wondering what it would be like to kiss them. I want to speak with them, but I am too shy.

Fast forward to January of 1995. I am back in Israel and walking through Jerusalem when the song hits on my walkman. It is well past evening and the lights are gleaming off of the walls of the Old City. Just ahead of me is David's Citadel. In a few moments I'll be passing through Jaffa Gate and on to the Jewish Quarter to meet a friend.

I remember just being amazed and really happy, so very content. The song seemed so appropriate to the situation. There was nothing but potential in front of me.

There is still nothing but potential in front of me, but life is more complex than it was then. A dear friend and I have been discussing life choices and how to deal with making them when you are no longer the only person that is involved or impacted by that decision.

Jim is in the process of getting divorced so you can see how the topic came up. It hit him out of the blue. He knew that his wife was upset about some things, but he really was surprised that she was so upset that she just wanted to end it all. They had been married less than two years when she told him that she was going to leave him and said that there was no reason to bother with counseling.

I know that he has spent time trying to figure out if there were any signs that he had missed, that he questioned some past decisions and wondered what his role in all of it was. But I don't think that it serves us well to focus too much upon the past. What we have done there impacts us know and may very well impact our future, but it is not the sole arbiter of what happens. That is assuming you haven't committed some heinous crime.

And the ability to look backwards to see mistakes is not always indicative of having been stupid or blind. Most of us are not gifted with prescience, we are not clairvoyant. So the best that we can do is act upon the choices we have made in the manner that makes the most sense to us. Life is about how we act and react. I prefer to act, but sometimes you are forced to react to situations that are created but not of your own choosing.

The beauty of people is that we do not always follow the logical or rational path. It is a common theme in science fiction. Artifical intelligence takes on human kind, begins to win the war and then loses because it doesn't have the ability to go outside of the box the way that we do.

Set your course, sail your ship and don't be afraid to drop anchor in unfamiliar ports or to weather the storm. Slow and steady can mean growth and progress.

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