By Kenneth Stepp
Years ago I would visit Blockbuster videos and walk the isles searching for a movie to watch that night. I would return them the next morning but before I did I would make sure to rewind the movie. It even had a sticker on the movie as a reminder. Why? Because the next person to view the movie could experience it the same way I did. It meant to leave it like I found it.
This made me think of life. After losing someone by death or divorce, is it possible to leave them like you found them? Can we be in a person’s life for a time then hit the rewind button? My dad taught us to leave them better than we found them. While that sounds like a higher bar to set: it’s actually more doable. A great trait to carry all the way through life.
My dad had a lot of those ideas about life. He wasn’t raising 3 boys, he had 3 men to raise and wanted to raise champions. Whether we were champions is up for debate I guess. But we are all 3 alpha males and all 3 keep ourselves physically, morally, and spiritually strong. We love peace because what we love is safe when there is peace. But if peace doesn’t work we are willing and prepared to go another direction
Rewind… To a movie it’s a simple thing. One button and a little patience and it’s done. For a life in flux and a broken heart it gets more complicated. Why? Because there are a zillion options to consider with our rewind. I’m not sure a zillion is accepted math but we all know it must be a lot.
As I sit here and wonder about these options, I cannot only remember them when I was pondering my rewind but I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of them that keep coming up. So how do we decide? Our gut, wise counsel, study, and sleep on it. I’ve used them all. The problem is that after all of these it’s still up to just me.
The greater the loss the longer the rewind. Because of what I write about many reach out to me, either with questions or what answers to their questions they arrived at in their rewind. I appreciate all of them. The second half of 2021 changed my life. I lost the love of my life and almost lost my life too. After a 10 day coma and a 10 week hospital stay I was foggy. It was hard to put sentences together. I lost everything and was lost too.
I was standing at a crossroad. I could go left and give up on life, or I could go right and live again. I chose to live. The fighter in me wanted to jump head first into the world and build again quickly. The realist in me knew that although I went right, more choices lay ahead. Do I live for pleasure, do I search for the unlikely, my soulmate, or do I live somewhere in between?
In 2013 I vowed to never judge another human being for anything. I win that most of the time. And that my friends is exactly how I managed to take the harder path. To search for something unlikely. You see, I had my soulmate already. I can’t say that I didn’t veer a time or two but the path is the path. I am imperfect but my intentions are sound.
I believe we are all dealing with the vast amount of choices I talk about here. I’ve known men and women who choose the pleasure temporary path because it’s easier and the fun of it is obvious. But every one of them would love the fairytale. I’m asked for advice daily. Below are my heartfelt answers that grew out of much loss.
- Be patient. Never get in a hurry. It seems the ones that go fast burn out fast. If you want something to last then it’s worth waiting for.
- Learn the difference between an option and a distraction. If you meet someone that is potentially “the one”. Get rid of distraction and see no options. You are trying to find a lifetime partner. Treat them as such.
- Develop habits that make you the permanent type. Don’t allow small things to come between you and your someone. I’ve seen people break up and a few years later they can’t remember why.
- Comparison between someone before them and them is unfair and way out of bounds. You are both new and both old. You’ve both had lives prior to meeting. Embrace and enjoy the differences.
- Never make your new person pay for what an old person did to you. Your new person will have issues of their own. Stacking past hurts on their backs destroy hopes of a future.
- Forgive quickly. Grace has repaired more hearts and healed more brokenness than anything else. Forgive and forget. Real forgiveness works that way. Forgiving and reminding someone you forgave them is simply manipulation.
These are the steps that help me rewind. I use these truths to filter everything these days. Learning these simple things came out of so much loss. I used to be intense but am now Mr Laidback. Intensity is still there, It just looks different now. Good luck on your rewind. Don’t rush it and if you choose the road on the left, have all the fun you can find there. If you go right, never never never give up.