Friday, March 18, 2011
In A Word: If
If is such a strong word and it would seem that it has been a common word for me all week. Today in particularly had a few "what if" moments. I was out walking my dog and we came upon a baby squirrel. He must have been at least a month old. He looked strong and healthy, but definitely lost. He was crying for his mama. I didn't see any sign of a nest or his family. I wanted to help him, but I wasn't sure how. Before I could decide what to do, a friend came up and started talking. I was distracted for a moment and suddenly a cat lunged out of the bushes, grabbed the squirrel and ran off with him. I couldn't go after the cat. I couldn't stop him. The person I was talking with made the comment that "at least squirrels multiply quickly" meaning the loss wouldn't be felt in the squirrel population. I know he meant well and he was probably right, but I was devastated (obviously I have a huge heart for animals). I couldn't help thinking what if I had just picked the baby squirrel up or what if I had just kept an eye on him instead of letting him wander near those bushes. Why didn't I know the cat was there? Why couldn't I have done anything? He was right there. I could've saved him.
Later this evening, I called to talk to my mom and found out that my sister's dog is sick most likely because he ate some not so healthy treats when he was at my house. Again, I felt the load of guilt on my shoulders and the familiar "what if" question came to mind. What if I hadn't let him eat my dog's food? What if I had decided not to give him those treats? What if I would have known that he couldn't stomach my dog's food and snacks? He wanted to come and spend the day with me. Why didn't I do a better job taking care of him? What if I had just not fed him at all then he wouldn't be sick right now. And the "what if" questions went on.
You're probably thinking, good grief, get over it. Life happens and life will continue on. The squirrel was a chance encounter that couldn't be helped. Feeding the dog treats that didn't sit well with his digestive system was an accident. Learn from it and keep going. And I totally agree with that thought. It's true. I can't just sit around and contemplate the "what if" scenarios, but we all do it, don't we? Something happens in life that we feel just sick with regret or guilt and instead of picking up the pieces we stand still and think "what if." Well, here's a "what if" that we all need to apply the next time we find ourselves wrapped in pain, agony, guilt, and everything else that goes with it.