I think it may be part of the human condition to wonder what if from time to time. At least it is for my human condition. I second-guess my decisions, comments, and actions ad infinitum and let my mind just skip and wander to the land of Whatif. I have to constantly remind myself though, that if one single thing was changed, everything would change, a la the butterfly effect of chaos theory….and I don’t want everything to change.
As I have immersed myself in my quest for history, this query hangs heavily in shadow of monumental events. One wonders what the outcomes would have been if only. Recently I heard a statement by military historian, in one of the Memorial Day homages, who opined that the bombing of Pearl Harbor was the best thing that could have happened at the time. These words are startling when thinking of the loss of life and horrors that ensued, yet he went further to explain what he meant. IF pilots had scrambled, the numerical advantage of the superior fighting capabilities of Japanese zeros would have made short work of the American airmen. IF destroyers were out to sea fully manned, they would have been sitting ducks for torpedo drops taking down entire fleets of men, as they would soon do to the British warship Prince of Wales. Because of the surprise attack, it galvanized a Nation to help end a war much earlier than would have been possible, if at all. Yamamoto was correct in his summation; “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” So with those thoughts in mind, my wheels began spinning…..
- What if…Hitler had died in WWI when he was wounded?
- What if…the base at Pearl Harbor had enough warning to be fully prepared?
- What if…that Giant had stayed asleep?
- What if…the Allies had the perfect conditions for D-Day that they were hoping for and were able to execute their mission exactly as planned?
- What if…we had known about the horrors of the concentration camps and locations early in the war?
- What if…Patton had been allowed to invade Russia?
- What if…MacArthur had not been relieved of his duty?
- What if…President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy had not been assassinated?
- What if…911 had not happened?
The list goes on and on.
Where would our world be today? Where would I be today? Any one of those alternate scenarios would have changed the world stage on a grand scale, however my personal what ifs are just as consequential in my own life’s drama. In the merry-go-round of my thoughts, I find myself back to the statement that got me speculating in the first place….it was the best thing that could have happened. I realized that is what always happens. When I look back, as horrible as some things seem, good emerges from the ashes. Goodness is a God’s Phoenix. I can give countless examples from my own story. God is there…in the wings…making things right…protecting us from ourselves in untold ways. I have found a Tree Star. I can gently toss what if… out of my vernacular. I am where I am supposed to be. I believe that God’s plan is on track and it is the best thing that could happen.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11