Instant replays have become old hat. We now expect them in all televised sports. Whether it's a tennis pro's impressive backhand or an NBA center's slam dunk or a heavyweight boxer's smashing jab, we never have to worry about missing it the first time around. It'll be back again and again and, probably, again.
It has occurred to me that I'd enjoy (for lack of a better title) delayed replays of some of the more significant times in my life. But these would be different from fixed frames on film. In "delayed replays," I'm fantasizing the possibility of going back and being given another chance to relive a particular experience that could have been handled differently. More wisely. With greater tact. In better taste. You know—all those "if-I-had-that-to-do-over-again" thoughts. What a second chance that would be!
Just think of all the things we'd refrain from saying that we blurted out the first time around. And consider the different attitudes we would have toward unexpected interruptions, unplanned babies, unrealistic expectations, unimportant details. I really think we would take a lot more things a lot less seriously, don't you?
Fun times form great memories . . . so let's hear it for fewer frowns and more smiles. Laughter lingers. It soaks into the walls of a home, coming back to encourage us many years later.
Yes, if we had the benefit of "delayed replays," we would gain a lot of perspective on life we often miss the first time around.
But unfortunately, second times around don't happen. We cannot re-rear our children. I cannot re-pastor my first church. Initial impressions cannot be remade. Cutting remarks cannot be re-said. Scars can't be completely removed. Tear stains on the delicate fabric of our emotions are, more often than not, permanent. Memories are fixed, not flexible.
"You mean God won't forgive?"
You know better than that.
"And people can't overlook my failures?"
Come on, now. That's not the issue at all. Most people I know are amazingly understanding. Our biggest task is forgiving ourselves.
The main message is clear: think before you speak. Pause before you act.
Another chance? No chance. It's absolutely impossible to go back and start over. Today is tomorrow's yesterday . . . and "delayed replays" will never occur. Today is memory in the making, a deposit in the bank of time. Let's make it a good one!
In the now-or-later battle for priorities, it's clear where the secret lies. Let's take care of the biggies now—today. It's amazing how the incidentals will fade away when we focus fully on the essentials. And that's impossible unless we put the important ahead of the urgent.
Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Featuring books for your permanent bookshelf from Charles R. Swindoll: Life Is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React - softcover book, and Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Essential Truths for Becoming Strong in the Faith.