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Isn't it pretty?

Thursday, March 25, 2004

What If

I was thinking this morning about how it is impossible to play the "what if" game. The "what if" something small was different. But you can't do it, because when you change something that is seemingly small, you put in motion so many other changes, and then you realize that nothing would be recognizable. I was thinking about some of the people in my life, and wondering "what if" I had had a slightly different relationship with those people, "what if" I had met them a few years earlier or later, "what if" circumstances had turned out slightly differently. But I couldn't follow through. When I think about it like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples just get bigger and bigger, it would make waves that would have left my life unrecognizable. I have also been thinking recently about a specific person who, while not playing an incredibly active role in my life, had one of the biggest impacts upon it. This person, who I can't say I know well, who I don't consider a friend or even really an acquaintance, set in motion possibly the greatest journey that I have taken thus far. This person has had such a profound influence on my life, in such an indirect way. Could he have had any idea what his influence would be? I feel fortunate that recently, I was able to express some sort of gratitude to this person. I don't think I can ever adequately thank him for what he gave me, how do you express thanks to someone you barely know for completely changing your life? But when I try to play the "what if" game with this person and the influence he made on my life, I can't even begin to imagine where or what kind of person I would be today. It is this way in which I think Hashem works in our lives and this is the way I see Hashem most clearly in my own life. I look to the people who are currently in my life and the people who have formerly been a part of my life. Some of those people have made such huge impacts on me, and a lot of them are people that I definitely think Hashem put in my life for that purpose. Some of these people came from such amazingly different backgrounds from me that I can't logically conclude that they came into my life by chance. Even those who have caused me pain in my life have been there for a reason, and my life would not be the same without having had those experiences. As much as I would like to wonder "what if" I hadn't had those pains or sorrows, I realize that I am that much more complete for having had them and I wouldn't exchange those experiences for any "what if" I can imagine. I wouldn't be the same person if I did.


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