What If?

What if you had woken up this morning and walked out the front door naked, screaming bloody murder into the street? 

What if you had picked up the phone and called each of your loved ones, describing your sexual fantasies in increasingly vivid detail? What if you had driven your car into a crowd of people?

In comparison, whatever mistakes you have made today -a typo in an email, the misremembered name of your new colleague, the coffee you spilled on your new shoes- must surely seem slight. 

What if you were moments from death, many decades from now, and given the opportunity to travel back to this moment? Can you imagine the inexplicable joy, the utter freedom you would feel to be, simply and exactly, as you are right now? 

It is sometimes said in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous that “you cannot think your way into right action. You can only act your way into right thinking.” And it is indeed foolish to dwell errantly in one’s own mind. 

However, the writer of this blog must object to the aforementioned truism on the following basis: we can, in point of fact, take some control of our self-perception by doing just that; by dwelling for a time in our imaginations, with care and on purpose. 

We can better appreciate what is by asking ourselves what might well have been, and what might one day be. This is productive thinking. This is mindfulness.

The great screenwriting instructor Robert McKee is known to say that the screenwriter must know the world of their story “with the depth and breadth that God knows this world.” 

While we can never presume to know how the God of our understanding thinks, this is very good encouragement to be vigilantly thoughtful as we proceed throughout our day; and, indeed, throughout our lives.

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