Nothing For Granted

When I was a child, a neighbor I knew told me that she’d almost married a man who became a wealthy, prominent politician. Instead, she chose another man who didn’t achieve great wealth or fame. Although she never said it aloud, it was clear to me that she regretted her choice.

As I grew older, she spoke of this choice many times. It wasn’t until I was fifteen or so that I thought through the implications of such a choice: three children that would not be born, extended family that she would never know, decades of experiences she wouldn’t have, the love winding through all of it never to be. She would never have her life particulars had she not made the choice she did.

There’s a precious uniqueness to the life that comes from our choices. Had she made a different choice, she may have had more money and social standing, she may have had a happier marriage – she may even have had children she would love fiercely. But she wouldn’t have the ones that her life had brought. Would she really be willing to wish them out of existence, or did she take it for granted that they would somehow, impossibly, be given even if different life choices were made?

Would I be willing to lose the holy what is, with all its complexity, for an unknown what is not? Would you?

2 thoughts on “Nothing For Granted

  1. David Anderson

    That’s a wonderful, haunting story. I like how you drew out the implications of rejecting the life you’ve been led into, and really love that you were honest enough to say she might even had had “a happier marriage.” What is is the holiness we seek to see and know and embrace.

  2. Johnna Post author

    The road not taken is like the grass on the other side of the fence – its imperfections are hard to see. If she were on that other road, who’s to say that she wouldn’t be gazing at the road she did take with the same sense of longing?


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