What would have been

I’ve just spent a morning cooking a very large batch of veggie chilli for my leaving party in just over a week, and with most of my possessions now back in Birmingham, moving is suddenly looming incredibly large on the horizon!

One of the strange things about choosing to move, is that you gain a heady sense about ‘what would have been’.

It’s little things like knowing I now won’t be at a friends birthday party, or welcome drinks for the next year of the grad scheme. I’ve also given away the Proms tickets I had for September, and taken things out my calendar.

In these little moments, I can find it easy to start feeling overly superstitious about my decision to move. My friend Molly recently used a great analogy about a tightrope to describe this way of thinking; sometimes we get into the trap of nervously try to determine our next step as if there’s only one choice we can make to move forwards. Really though, life is more like a field than a tightrope!

When I am in tightrope-mode, I find it helpful to remind myself that I cannot lose what is most important. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I always have a faithful God.

There’s another challenge in all this: of integrity in the sense of ‘wholeness’. I want to fully acknowledge what my life has been, is, and will be as my life – taking courage over my choices, and having grace for those parts of my life I would not have chosen or cannot change.

There is a beautiful and related theme in the Narnia books about ‘nobody ever being told ‘what would have happened’ (see, The Magician’s Book). I find this thought incredibly comforting. Our choices are important, but they are not foreclosing of what is most important. I am reminded of a lovely line in one of the Psalms, ‘One thing I have asked, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life’.