Once I was stopped by the circus during a run. I lived in downtown Cincinnati and my jogging path crossed next to the arena where the circus is performed. I happened to be passing the arena as a crowd was exiting.
Stopped by traffic cops waving their arms, I stood there breathing in the moment. Fathers with daughters perched on their shoulders. Mothers pushing strollers. Even grandparents participated in this childhood ritual. A river of cotton candy covered children seemed to flow down the street. Hands filled with things that buzzed and glowed. The joy of the moment was palpable.
“What if?” hung in the air.
What if my parents had gotten divorced when I was young? What if I had stayed with X in high school? What if things had worked out with Y after college? What if I would have moved to Big Ugly Creek? What if I did not have Turner syndrome? What if I had taken a job in Portland? These questions had nothing to do with the circus. Tears started to flow from the part of my soul that knows fear and regret. Most of the time I am certain I have traveled the right path. Not everything has been my choice, but how I have navigated the water on which my boat travels has been up to me
“What if?” looks a little different to me know. Now, I visit Disney with my husband and stepdaughter. Now the lines blur between success and failure. Now, I live in a new city where career and calling require reaching out, building, courage, and strength. Now, I see how the “What if?” tears came from a place of fear. Now, I am comforted by the constancy of change. Now, I know the importance of wholeness in a world where brokenness tears the fabric of our being. “What if?” means acceptance of what is. “What if?” means peace with our shadow. “What if?” means holding hands with our childhood selves. “What if” means healing hurts.What if acceptance, peace, holding hands, and healing is possible?