Doing the Best You Can is the Best You Can Do

My father has a theory. My father has lots of theories. Some interesting, some ignorant, some humorous, and some are just downright insane. My father, he’s an interesting man, and I suppose he is somewhat insane. But I guess we all struggle with or celebrate our own variety of insanity.

Anyhow, one of his theories, and it is by no means unique to him, is that there is positive and negative vibrations. The positive being all things you would think are positive: honesty, commitment, kindness, sacrifice, etc. When you die, you have a review of your life on some sort of mystic flat screen. Preferably with a bowl of buttery, mystic popcorn.

You get to see all of the wonderful things you did in your life, like zip-lining through the forest in St. Marten or holding your first born child in your arms. But you also get to review all of the horrible things that happened, like the time you did that thing after six too many gin and tonics. You know, that thing? Or the time you stood by your grandmother’s hospital bed as she struggled to release her last breath and you didn’t look away.

Yes, you get to see it all, feel it all, experience it all and then if your positive vibration is high enough you can move on. On to a higher frequency, wherever that is. Heaven perhaps? Or maybe the suburbs of Heaven. And if your vibrating at a negative level, well…I don’t like to think about that.

What interests me though, and what this post is really about, is the idea that some people might have a high enough vibration to move on but will make a deliberate choice to come back. When my father told me his thoughts on that, all I could think was really? Someone would actually choose to come back to this place if they had an option of moving on to something better?

Now I have been fortunate enough to experience some truly beautiful and amazing things in my life. The way the Virginia pines looked to me as a baby lying in my stroller. Oh that contrast of green against blue. The softness of my mother and how safe it felt to be wrapped in her arms. The way that horse looked in a Danish field, a giant in the fog, slowly taking shape as I came closer. Giant, gentle, creature. That first kiss opening up the world for the very first time. The way it felt to be in his arms, flesh against flesh, to feel the rise of his chest against my cheek. And babies! Life inside of life! Creation out of love giving birth to new love. Soft thighs, tiny grasp, complete and total trust only a child can give. Complete and total love, unconditional, that only a child can give. So many beautiful memories.

But I have also been unfortunate enough to experience some truly horrific and painful things in my life. Enough to think I would never deliberately choose to come back to this place. Ever.

But lately, as I reflect on my life and the bad choices I’ve made, the bad things that have happened to me, and the awful things I have done, a thought creeps into my mind. If I could have another shot at this thing, at life, I would do it differently. I would make different choices, better choices. I would get it right. If only I could have another shot.

And then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks falling from a twenty story building followed by a six ton elephant. I might be one of those people. The ones that would deliberately choose to come back to this place. The lure of getting it right, getting it perfect, the misguided delusion that it is even possible to get it perfectly right would be enough to bring me back.

But I guess there’s the rub. I know even if I were given another shot, the likelihood of doing the same exact thing, making the same exact choices, is very real. Because in the end, there’s no guarantee where you land when you get here. It’s a crap shoot.

So maybe the point is not getting it right. Maybe the way we move on in this life or the next, is the ability to accept that fact. No, I didn’t get it right, not by a long shot. But I did the best I could with what I had. It might not have been any good, but it was the best I could do.

We’re not given a choice when we’re born. If we were, I’m sure a good many of us would have put in for a transfer within the first week of living with our parents. And as we continue on our paths, we’re often not given a choice of what happens to us given the fact that our lives are interconnected with the lives of 7.53 billion other people that inhabit this Earth. As cliché as it is, the only choice we really have is what we choose to do with circumstances thrust upon us.

I can’t help but think of the wisdom wise old Gandalf bestowed to Frodo, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” But I think even more importantly, it is to accept the outcomes of our decisions. And if we’ve truly done the best we could with what was given to us, then accept that is all we can do and leave the rest behind.

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