For some lighter reading, I have recently been reading “Ender In Exile” by Orson Scott Card. If you haven’t read, “Ender’s Game”, I highly recommend it, this book is really just filling in a little more in the story line and the more I think about it, is allowing Card to express some of his own sentiments on those near the end of their life.
Anyway, one of the characters in the book writes a farewell letter to his protégé at the end of the characters life. He encourages his protégé to have kids because of the emotional satisfaction that comes from the process of raising them. He describes this with a high amount of specificity.
It’s not that I doubt that it is satisfying or even his description of it, but it is hard to have a character who never had kids talk so powerfully about the experience that he missed out on. The reality, of course, is that Card is simply putting his own reflections on paper and writing with the power of his own convictions. The reflections of a father put into the mouth of someone who never was.
This got me thinking about the various experiences that we have in life. There are certainly many things we enjoy as we go through life, but with every choice for one experience, we miss out on a different experience. Can we genuinely miss things we never experienced? It seems to me, we can miss them conceptually and we can create a simulation about what the experience might have been like (from stories or the like), but there is still a difference in the impact that it has on us. How often have you missed the person you never met?
I’m not sure it’s wise to look back on life regretting experiences that we never had seeing that it’s genuinely impossible for us to truly know what life would have been like had we had them. Learn from the past, make good decisions, but enjoy the things God has provided.