Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about story concepts. Every story starts out as a concept which can be a what if question. The answer to the question becomes the story. Here's an example of a story concept: What if a boy didn’t know he was a wizard?
The answer is the story of Harry Potter.
In the post, I extended the story concept to our lives. When we start asking what if questions in our lives, the answers lead us into a more exciting life story. Here's a few examples:
What if I went back to school?
What if I stopped complaining?
What if I quit my job?
At the end of the post, I challenged my readers to ask what if questions for their lives and to explore the answers. In my Live Your Best Story Workshop, we flesh out the what if questions so participants know the next steps to answer the questions for their lives.
But, this week, I'm thinking about what if questions in a different light. I'm thinking in the past tense.
What if I never contacted Brian to speak at the youth retreat several years ago?
What if we didn't drive to London, Ohio to adopt a pug we hadn't seen or met?
What if I didn't move back to Ohio a few years ago?
These what if questions are tough. I don't have good answers for most of them. But, for all three of these questions, there is a common theme. I can't imagine my life if those things didn't happen. I don't want to think of a life without Brian or without Zelda the pug (go ahead and laugh at me). I can't imagine a life where I don't have the freedom and ability to pursue writing.
These past tense what if questions put me in a mood of gratefulness and of thanksgiving. I'm thankful for the life I have- my husband, my family, my crazy pug, my friends, my job(s), and my faith. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week in the United States, I challenge you to think of the past tense what if questions. I challenge to be grateful for where you are in your life right now, even if you are in a rough stretch.