The Land of What-Could-Have-Beens

A writer whose hands are handcuffed to her job while her heart pulls her to the mission field. An architect whose dream to serve God in a different capacity is higher than the skyscrapers he could build. A man whose uncertain future painfully prompts him to let go of the woman he loves.

My heart goes out to each of them—and to every person whose longings are still unspoken and unheeded. For tell me, what could be more excruciating than having a dream and not being able to follow it? What could be more heartbreaking than having a love for somebody and not being able to express it?

Why my sympathy?

I backtrack a bit and inspect the many calendar pages, yellowed by time, I’ve already torn. How many of those days have regrets penciled on them? How many of my feelings have I left untranslated into words? How many times have I traveled to the land of what-could-have-beens only to find myself crawling my way back to my home of hope?

If you haven’t been to the land of what-could-have-beens, then don’t plan to visit. The fare is costly—paid in the currency of tears and sighs. A dreadful place to be, it is where the sun is always on its way to sleep, where relentless rains forbid rainbows to appear, where the only sounds you’d hear are echoes of the words, “If only I . . . ”

How I wish I wouldn’t have to make another trip to this land again. And neither do I wish this trip for the writer, the architect, the man with an uncertain future, and for every man and woman whose feet and hearts compel them to follow a dream and pursue a love.

11 Responses to “The Land of What-Could-Have-Beens”
  1. romel says:

    ISACC has a segment for short reflections in English over at DZFE. This piece, I think, belongs to that segment 🙂 maybe make it a little longer 🙂 Mifflin said we’re going to do the segment again! cheers,

  2. Beng says:

    Hi Romel, I’ll think about it. Actually, I feel kinda guilty already for not churning out pieces for ISACC. Hopefully I could make up with this entry (and other past entries). Thanks for visiting and keep on writing too!

  3. Ruben says:

    The past was and is part of sovereign God’s plans…but it’s still tempting to regret…our consolation and eventual joy is to see that it will work out for our good…but wow, Beng, what an entry….

  4. Beng says:

    Hi Ben. What an early riser, online at 5 am! I agree, even our misjudgments God can use for our good. But I’m just thinking that, generally speaking, if we could only decide more deliberately, take more (calculated) risks, then we’d have less of the “If onlys.” 🙂

  5. sillyserious says:

    i fear i’ve had more than my healthy share of wandering to and lingering in that bleak place of what-could-have-beens. if not for God’s grace, who could bear the weight of regret? God’s relentless love is patiently wooing me to look for better destinations away from the place of what-could-have-beens, before i pitch a tent there.

    beautiful piece, beng 🙂

  6. Beng says:

    I agree, there are better destinations—much grander, happier (Now, if we would only slacken our grip on the past and fret less about the future . . .).
    God’s grace–He plucks us out of the land of what-could-have-beens and transports us to His “promised land.”
    Thanks for the pat on the back too, Aleks. 🙂

  7. Bong dela Fuente says:

    but there are times when the joy is in the dreaming in itself… the paradox of life, i guess.

  8. Bong dela Fuente says:

    i think there’s a superflous “in” in the sentence somewhere 🙂

  9. Beng says:

    Hi Pastor Bong, yes, the joy is in the dreaming itself sometimes. Paradox nga. But the people I’ve mentioned here could do something about their longings. That’s why I wish they’d never have to go to the land of what-could-have-beens. 🙂
    About the “in,” I didn’t notice it the first time I read it. But then you mentioned it. . .

  10. Bong dela Fuente says:

    the obsessive-compulsive in me, hehehe shhh, don’t let olive know 🙂

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