Point of No Return
As a dedicated non-store shopper who, I say with some modesty, has single-handedly elevated Amazon to the internet behemoth it is today, I should know better. Should have the rhythm by now, internalized the magic date after which my purchase could no longer be returned for a refund or credit to my account. Yet, as I survey my little domain, I see many, MANY items I no longer want to own (if I ever did), just sitting there, gloating. “You’re stuck with us, sister!” I imagine the mistakenly bought book and the wrong color sweater saying. “NO one else would want us, and you missed your golden chance to unload us. Enjoy owning that novel you’ll never read, while you’re wearing the mustardy-puce sweater. Loser.”
I am reflecting on other aspects of my life that have reached the point of no return. At age 65, it truly is too late to get my pilot’s license I think (if my age doesn’t disqualify me, my 20/200 vision does). I will not embark on a new career as a house flipper (heck, I can’t even get my own house in good enough shape to flip). Medical school is no longer an option for me, nor is seminary (I still hate both the sight of blood, and the prospect of a year of Biblical Greek). There’s no going back to my youth. The childbearing ship has sailed. There is far more behind me, than ahead of me.
Sometimes, I’m fine with that, because there are many aspects of my life’s journey I would hate to revisit (6th grade P.E. class leaps to mind). But there is much I am sad to look at, receding in my rear-view mirror. And, mostly, I’m sad when I no longer have a choice. Doors slam shut. It is too late, a lot of the time.
Many experts are saying that our planet is reaching a point of no return. I just read a report warning that climate change is accelerating at a far quicker pace than current models had predicted. It is, I’m horrified to think, possible that our kids and their kids will be dealing with a planet that is becoming uninhabitable.
But on some level, we are always at the point of no return, aren’t we? The clock neither stands still, nor reverses course. Our lives are the sum of the irrevocable choices we make. There’s no “do over” of a day, because that day is once and done, forever. And while we can (if we pay attention) successfully return an unwanted Amazon package, we can never undo what we have said and made happen.
When I put together our church our Advent Prayer Center, one of the meditations this year was about forgiveness, including forgiving ourselves (the hardest kind of forgiving). I’ll never return to yesterday, or even the last hour, so maybe I should be gentler with myself as I come to grips with this harsh reality.
No returns? All right, then. Onward.