Thursday, October 9, 2014

do you ever wonder?

I've found myself thinking quite a bit lately about a time in my life when a particular order of events occurred that shaped the course of my life. Perhaps that's because I feel much the same right now as I did then. Not sure what the future holds nor which path to take.
I know we all wonder "what if..."...but I've remembered things that were said to me then and at the time I laughed it off, but looking back at what was going on then....and what I know now....i'm really wondering about some things.  The "what if's".....
I was a student at a small college in the NC mountains.....Montreat. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life but i'd narrowed my choices to two. I'd applied to two colleges for further study, each with a specialty in one of my two major areas of interest, special education and social work. One college was here at home, which would mean much less financial stress for my parents, since I was the oldest of four....the other was in the mountains I loved, where several of my friends where planning to go. Greensboro College vs. Mars Hill College.
So I decided to ask for a sign, since I'd applied to both with no clear feeling nor direction as to which I preferred. My sign? I sent both applications out on the same day with this promise to God and myself....Whichever one I heard from first, that would be where I was supposed to go.
Meanwhile, events back at Montreat made me want to stay there. Forever. I was the happiest I can remember. Some friends and I found a little apartment near the P.O. and decided to stay there for the summer and work. Our problem? Convincing our parents that this was a good idea. The folks who had the apartment before us did not leave it in the best fact, it was a hideous, nasty mess on the day our parents came to visit....and mine immediately put their collective foot down on the idea, thoroughly squashing any plans to stay in dear old Montreat for the summer.
Around the same time, I heard from the colleges to which I'd applied. And wouldn't you know it?....The one from home came in first, the one from away, the next day.  It was a head vs. heart decision....but I'd made a promise...and my head won. I could not, in good conscience, continue to live in the mountains on my parents dime when I already knew how much they'd had to scrimp and save in order for me to have the two years away I'd already had. And with three younger siblings at home who I knew would also be heading to college in a few years....well, I just couldn't do it. So....I came home. Attended Greensboro College. Lived at home. Became a special education teacher. Bought a home within a mile of my parents. Taught at the neighborhood school, literally married the boy next door (for real, I did) , had 2 wonderful children, divorced.... and retired in 2006. Married again in 2007, and he passed away in June.
But.....what if....
What if I'd followed that tug? What if I'd stayed in the mountains? How would my life be different? Someone said to me once that I'd missed out on what was right in front of me all along.....that I never really knew. I hadn't a clue what they were talking about...I thought they were just being funny. I thought I was doing the right thing. I've always done what was right for everyone else....I guess I used that as my decision-making tool.
But now, 40 years...Oh. my. gosh...FORTY YEARS later.....I'm wondering. What if I'd gone to Mars Hill? What if I'd stayed in Montreat?  What if I'd allowed myself the same happiness I'd always bent over backward to make sure everyone else had? Was that what was right in front of me? Or....exactly what WAS right in front of me that I'd missed...?  Maybe......maybe I'm in the process of figuring that out. And I wonder.....if I can do now what I didn't do then.....that maybe I secretly wish I'd done.
I wonder........
Do you.....ever...?  What if......

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