some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow tall?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!
~ Shel Silverstein
Today I am reflecting on the what if’s. I am a firm believer in destiny, and fate, and that everything happens for a reason; however, not all chance encounters are positive experiences.
When we come across an accident, how many of us are grateful we hadn’t left the house five minutes earlier, knowing that if we had we would have most likely been involved in the accident too?
In addition, just like Shel Silverstein’s poem, there are the nighttime what if’s—the things that keep us up at night: What if I hadn’t taken that road, what if I had missed that train, what if I had not taken that job or what if I had not gone to college?
The what if’s are also influenced by our choices—our choices whether good or bad sometimes come with consequences. We might choose not to wear our seat belt or life jacket or helmet—taking the risk of paying a fine or being hurt or killed.
This afternoon my middle son and I attended a memorial service of a classmate of his whom fate stepped in, and unfortunately, there was not a positive outcome. He made the conscious choice not to be wearing a bike helmet, he also chose to dash into the road without looking. Both I have witnessed my own children doing, so of course during the service I kept thinking what if that had been my child? Children sadly think they are invincible and will not get hurt and Chase paid the ultimate price for his mistake with his life, when he was hit by a car while riding his bike.
And although I’m sorry he lost his life and I feel for the young man’s family, I can’t help but feel absolutely terrible for the woman who was driving the car and tried in vain to stop in time. I’m sure the what if’s are haunting her nighttime.
By the way, Chase would have been 15 years old today.