I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Monday, June 06, 2011

What If ...?

Photo: Marco Bellucci
Did you ever see the episode of Yes, Dear in which Jimmy pursues his dream of working as an umpire after his wife Christine decides it’s time she pushed him in that direction the same way he pushed her to go back to college? Back in high school, she told him it was a stupid idea, but she wants to see him happy, so she encourages him to give it a shot.

Jimmy’s first game as an ump is a disaster. He makes the wrong calls – or no call at all. Players, managers and fans give him the business. And he returns home dejected. He tells Christine he hated the experience because there was too much pressure and no matter which call he made, somebody was mad at him. Christine feels better knowing she didn’t squash his dream.

“Yeah well, I’m glad you feel better,” Jimmy says, “but I lost my what if.”

“Your what?”

“My what if. Whenever I was bored at work or stuck in traffic I’d like to kind of sit and think about what my life would’ve been like if I’d a been an umpire. Now I know I never could’ve done it.”

He finds a new what if when Christine suggests he could be a pro golfer on the senior tour if he practiced every day until he was 50, but since she would never allow it, he’d never have to deal with the possibility of failing.

It’s a twisted way of viewing life, but probably not all that far from the truth. We all need what ifs.

The second I heard Jimmy use the “what if” phrase, I thought about the various “what ifs?” in my own life. In high school and college I used to wonder, “What if I practiced tennis every day, and got in great shape, and developed a better backhand?”

After college I wondered, “What if I practiced guitar every day and transitioned from power chords to learning the nuances of playing individual notes in a key that captures the mood of a song I’d written?”

In more recent years I’ve wondered, “What if I studied fiction writing techniques and was able to use what I learned to write a novel that spoke to people?”

For most of my life I’ve wondered, “What if I finally found someone to love – someone I could pour my life into?”

My first what if was answered when I couldn’t advance deep into tennis tournaments I entered. My second what if was answered after I became a Christian and put my guitar down – which, in hindsight, wasn’t my best decision. My third what if still lingers. I still dream about writing a novel that moves people. And my fourth what if – the one about finding love – it does more than linger. It gives me hope for the future – at least in an earthly sense.

What are your past and present what ifs? How and why have they changed over the years?


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