Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"What ifs" : a recent chat...

As a weird coincidence, especially following the thoughts behind my most recent post where I was contemplating the "what ifs" of whether choices or decisions were made differently some 30 years ago... I had this interesting exchange with Thomas last night. I think it reflects growth on my part... for a change, I'm the calm one, the less angsty one, and I see that as a good thing. (Thomas, for those who haven't followed, is a very dear friend that I met and fell in love with on my mission - I've posted several times about him, but not recently).

I had a hard time sleeping last night. I kept thinking about our chat. I've decided to share it here in hopes of receiving some feedback. Here's a translated version of our chat:

ME: So, what’s up?

THOMAS: Life here is about the same – nothing new to reveal to you. It’s nice to hear you say that you’re doing better. It’s about time that you found a bit of tranquility.

ME: But you, too, no?

THOMAS: Life is strange! At times I don’t understand why certain things happen that stain or mark us for the rest of our lives – forever!

ME: Like what?

THOMAS: I often think about things and wish I knew more assuredly the answers. Instead, I don’t succeed in knowing why certain things happen. So, I often become melancholy as I can’t accept the reality dealt to me.

ME: I know what you mean… so what would you change if you could?

THOMAS: If I could return back and do it all over, I would change lots of things.

ME: There are times when I have felt more at peace, more tranquil in my life. I still am confused with doubts that return and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to hold my “reality” together. It scares me, but at the same time I'm at peace. I have thought of how things would have been different if I had chosen a different path back then. But, we can’t turn back the clock, no?

THOMAS: Unfortunately, no. The errors committed you can’t repair anymore. It’s like this: When you’re up against a dilemma and you don’t know what to do, it becomes difficult to choose if you go here or there, especially if you don’t have the right knowledge of the thing you’re choosing.

ME: Okay? And so…

THOMAS: Well, this is what I’d do if I went back in time: I would be less naive and less good, and instead, more rational and less emotional. Being naive, good, emotional… these characteristics haven’t served me well – they haven’t helped me at all! And I wouldn’t have the traditions of religion on my shoulders telling me to live so rigidly.

ME: However, you can’t be less naïve without experience and knowledge. And those require you to make tough choices. To be less naïve, you have to face your dilemma!

THOMAS: In fact…

ME: So, the important thing for me right now is to not worry so much about what could have happened, the “what if” scenario of the past – I just need to go forward from here from where I am…. And I want to add: I am grateful to have known the “Thomas” that was good, and kind, and naïve, and emotional! That boy touched me very profoundly probably more so than a rational or less emotional boy ever could!

THOMAS: You’re sweet! But how has it served you knowing this “Thomas” if you have NOT been with him all these years? What was the point of knowing and feeling and loving each other as we did, as we do? Good grief, we’ve lived our whole lives separated from each other!

ME: I know, I know, but I’m still grateful for the decisions we’ve made. We both have families and beautiful children. You have two beautiful daughters. What would have been is just a dream.

THOMAS: A dream… Do you know what I dream?

ME: No, what?

THOMAS: I dream often of what it would have been like if we chose our hearts 30 years ago!

ME: And that would be to do what?

THOMAS: You know…

ME: No, I want to hear you say it…

THOMAS: I dream that we would have lived passionately together as partners for the past 30 years! Living together, loving each other.

ME: Nice dream. I thought that was my dream, not yours! I’ve had that very dream as well. But do you think we’d have been happy?

THOMAS: I don’t know… but then at least all of this emotion and love for you would have served a purpose. What’s the point?

ME: I don’t know either. Maybe it’s best to leave it in the realm of dreams. Sometimes reality isn’t as beautiful and neat and perfect. I’d rather fantasize with you about the “what if”, but be grateful for the choices we've made, and for the here and now – that I knew you once – that I had a dear, dear friend and that I will always love you for touching my life.

THOMAS: Why do you have to live so far away? I need you here. I need you to hold me.

ME: I’m always here. I’m still holding you.


Any ideas? What do you think? What's going on? Why are our rolls reversed: why is he now longing for our relationship to rekindle and I'm at peace where I am?


MoHoHawaii said...

Welcome to late middle age.

:- )

Beck said...

haha! Thanks a lot! :(

recover and thrive said...

I think Heavenly Father has a plan of timing. I know he does - some are strong at just the moment when another is weak, some are at peace where they are in life just at the moment that another is anxious to change, and that balance is what keeps us doing whats right - helping others in their time of need, and not falling together at the same time. I notice this with my wife all the time -when she's having a hard time, all of a sudden I'm super man and do these amazing things, and when I'm struggling, she does something and it all is put into perspective. I think its awesome that you're at peace with your decisions.

Beck said...

R&T: I like the thought of "timing", which implies that the Lord has his hand in our lives and provides support for us through others.

I know that Thomas has been there for me when I needed him. And he was there intitially at a very critical point in my life - a pivotal and life-changing point. I hope to be able to be there for him as well. It has been a good relationship for us... but the distance hasn't hurt in helping us to be "good". :)

What's fun to note is that I'm at peace with this. I'm not stressed over it, nor wanting to rush off to the other side of the world and give up my life here. It wouldn't be right and I am at a place now where this really can be placed in the "what if" category instead of the "how to make it real".

Thanks for your response - there is balance and purpose in our meeting and interacting with each other. I am convinced of that!

robert said...

Practically speaking, I think it is late middle age as MHH states. We begin to reflect on our lives as we move closer to its end on earth. The "what ifs" while different in specifics, they are common among us.

Wyatt said...


I mean do what you want and do what you feel and be true to yourself, but I'd really love to see you have a moment of passion in the throws of physical elucidation and pleasure. Perhaps a little selfishly but I think it'd give you some clarity.

If it's not as good as you think then don't do it again. And if you like it then that's your answer.

Repentance is always there if you need it

Beck said...

ROBERT: As much as I'm sure I should agree with you, the more I am in denial as I don't want to admit that I'm now categorized as "late middle age" by my MOHO peers.

Ouch... :(

WYATT: So good to see that you are still following my pathetic little blog here. I am thrilled that you took the time to comment.

But, hey, I'm feeling really good about the path I'm on and the connection I'm making with my wife and letting such thoughts of passionate male partnerships be something of the "what if" variety and not feel regret or angst for not having that possible connection with Thomas... and here you are encouraging me to go for it????

Crap... what am I supposed to do with that bit of advice? Walk away from my family and kids, particularly with some critical and pivotal points in the works with my kids? Abandon them and take off to Europe and arrive on the scene of Thomas and his family and disrupt his marriage and kids and we go for it together in passionate love?

Um... I see your point - I know that I won't know until I really know and how will I know unless I let go and "go for it" and try it out, but Wyatt, my dear friend... in all do respect, how do suggest I go about such a thing in my situation?

How do you (or anyone reading this) propose that one such as I "goes for it", whether it be Thomas or just trying on someone more local and more available?

Ned said...

BECK: Two things: First, another great disucssion and cause for celebration that you see the big picture and seek to be true to all your loved-ones both in and outside the bonds of your family.

Second: What a fine photo you've posted! Is there a story to go with it? Reminds me of a scene out of Brokeback Mountain and also reminds me of a place here in Utah where I've relaxed on a rock with a view.

GeckoMan said...

I've been away for a time, just consumed with being busy at other things. So it's good to come back to your blog and find you in a different place... not nearly so consumed with wishing for candy you can't have. You've clearly made a choice for other priorities on the food pyramid, which are probably better for you long term.

I find myself in basically the same place. Yeah, I wish at times things were different, and think about the what if's of timing as they played out in my life. But, I'm even more thankful for the tender mercies of the Lord which allowed me a loyal wife and loving family. I'm in a place where I've made covenants that I value and will be true to. If I were to do otherwise, it would cause great harm and pain to those who love and trust me and are worthy of my loyalty. I simply will not injure those I love for an exploratory tour of selfishness on my part. I guess you could say I've made my (hetero) bed, so now I'm laying in it, even if at times I wonder if another bed might be more comfortable.

Beck said...

NED: Relaxing on rocks in the foothills with a view is one of my favorite past times! :)

GECKO: So good to see you checking in again. And I'm certainly glad to know you are well and doing the best you can with the "bed you've made" and seeing the tender mercies along the way!

Don't be a stranger. I'm still blogging (still not sure why) and appreciate your comments.