Wow. That’s a depressing title for a blog entry, right? Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as you think. Just hear me out.
I was doing my penance….er, laps…on the treadmill tonight (Did I mention I have a reunion coming up?) when I had a revelation. I was listening to the songs of my youth, a YouTube mix of 80s music, some of which I used to play with a band back in “the day.” I’ve mentioned it before (if you’re interested, it’s here), but when I was in my 20s, I lived in Vegas for a few years after college. One of my best friends from high school was out there as well, and we started a band we named First Affair. We were doing fairly well, even to the point of being billed at the time as “The Hottest New Rock Band in Vegas.” We played places like the Moby Grape and The Main Gate out by Nellis AFB, among others. I’m not sure either one of those venues is even still around anymore.
Anyway, while listening to the playlist, the song Faithfully by Journey came up. As I glanced at the video on my phone, it showed the group on tour, on the road, on jets, going from place to place. Watching it reminded me of a dream we had back then of becoming a successful rock band. Obviously, only a very small fraction of bands ever make it that big, but we all chase the dream. And then, I started thinking of the life I’ve ended up with as a result of that dream not coming true. And I started thinking of all of the things I might have missed if it had come true.
I might not have met the amazing, wonderful woman who agreed to become my wife. A strong, intelligent, funny woman who, even though she seems to be constantly on the go, is still willing to do anything for someone in need. I might not have been there for her when her father passed, and she might not have been there for me when my parents’ time on this Earth came to an end.
I might not have gotten to see our daughter grow from a baby to the strong, determined young woman she is today. I might have missed all of her softball and volleyball games, her parent-teacher meetings, her pageants and more.
I might not have been there for the birth of our granddaughter, and I might have missed watching the beautiful baby girl of our beautiful baby girl grow up and discover the wonder of the world around her.
I might not have gotten to play so many hours of catch with our son that, to this day, I can barely throw a ball anymore. I’ve watched him go from riding his tiny bike as fast as possible when he thought a parade was a race, to teaching himself to play ukulele, guitar, and keyboards, along with learning music theory so that he’s more of a musician today than I ever was. I might have missed his baseball and football games.
I might have never realized that my favorite thing in life was watching our kids in sports and other events.
I might have missed the joy in my mom’s face whenever we would bring her grand kids for a visit. She’s gone now, but I still have the memories of her love for her grandchildren.
All those things I might have never seen except in pictures and videos if the band would have become successful and been on tour. If that dream had come true.
I might have ended up living in a big city with sirens going off constantly, living behind metal security fences, instead of in my little home town in Missouri where people still take walks on warm evenings and chat with neighbors.
I’m not saying there haven’t been some rough patches. A house fire ten years ago, a few car wrecks (thankfully, no injuries) and other minor emergencies, the same as pretty much any other family, but the good far outweighs the “bad.” Everything is a learning experience, especially the “bad” things.
As I thought about all of those things and a thousand other memories over the past three decades, I realized that even if I could go back now and magically change things so that the band was a success…
I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t dare take the chance on all those “might have missed.”
I know the person I was back then. It wasn’t pretty. God has blessed me far beyond what I deserved. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the life I never realized I wanted way back then.
I still have dreams and goals I’m trying to reach. But now they’re for my family and others, not just for me. I’ll get there. I believe.
Considering what you have now, would you change anything in your past, knowing what you could possibly lose that you have today?
Sometimes dreams don’t come true.
And sometimes everything turns out okay in spite of it.