They say that those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it. I think this works equally so in our daily lives. Every day, we experience challenges, granted, not all of them are critical and are often mundane. But there are moments when we ask ourselves, “What if I did that differently?”
We do this because we wonder if things could have turned out better, or worse. What if, instead of studying for that important test, I went to the party with my friend. Would I have met the woman of my dreams? What if, instead of talking with my best friend for five hours on my cell phone, I visited him instead. Would I still have gotten brain cancer?
The reality about yesterday is that it cannot be redone. It cannot be changed. Then why is it that so many people have doubts about their past? Or why, after a mistake has been made, do people complain about it?
I think memory is a gift from God. I don’t know if animals have memories in the same way people do. But what is for certain is that memories help us relive our past, bringing tears of joy or sadness, laughter and pain. But when we make mistakes, we don’t want to make them again. And I’m not just talking about conditioning; I’m talking about life-lessons.
If we don’t reflect upon our lives, we won’t be able to see the full picture. “Hindsight is always 20/20” they say. And it isn’t until we’ve completed a journey that we realize how much we’ve grown, what we’ve accomplished, and what we can do better next time.
One of the big problems with memory is that sometimes, it paralyzes us. We are afraid to make the same mistake – or make a worse mistake – so we don’t take any action at all. We miss out on the opportunity to do things differently. What better way to know if you’ve really learned your lesson than to have the opportunity to mess up again?!
The only way to know that someone is honest is to give that person the opportunity to be dishonest. He must make the conscience choice to do the right thing. The same goes for life lessons. God purposefully and deliberately puts us in situations where we will have to decide how to handle the situation. I don’t think God does this to annoy us. I think he does it because he realizes that these lessons are worth learning.
So as you look at your past, consider your present situations. Chances are that you’ve been here before. Somewhere in the mystery of our problems lies a choice to either repeat history or to do something different. The cool thing is that if we decide to do something different, we can have hope. This hope will pay great dividends if we make the right decisions. We will be able to look back at the events in our lives that made us into who we are today and say with certainty, “If I didn’t do that, I’d be in a completely different place. I’m glad I made the right choice.”