Lenten Journal, Day 24

Before I met my wife, I played racquetball a couple of times a week. I backpacked and went wilderness camping in the desert with friends. I rode a 15-speed bike to work. I was a downhill skier.

Before she met me, my wife played tennis. She went camping in the mountains of northern Nevada with her family. She rode her 12-speed bike across the continental US. She was a Nordic cross-country skier.

When we dated, we talked about these activities, imagining that we would share them with one another. We never did them as a couple . . . but we talked about them.

Then we got married and I went to law school. My weekends and other free time were monopolized by books and study groups and moot courts and law reviews. She got a job in medical supply sales management and found her time monopolized at in-service trainings, learning to fit anti-embolism stockings and ostomy bags.

When I graduated, there was the bar exam to study for and while I was doing that, she had a baby. And we moved and I went to work as an associate litigator and I had no free time, and she had a baby to raise and she had no free time.

Racquetball and cycling and backpacking and camping . . . well, they just slipped out of our lives. When the baby grew up a bit, my wife and he (and later his sister) occasionally went camping with friends or scouting programs, but I was still litigating spending my weekends in “trial prep” or … something weird happened and I ended up getting ordained to the priesthood and, guess what? I worked on weekends and had even less free time than when I was a practicing barrister.

We got older. We both put on weight. We both got arthritis and then came cortisone shots and tendon repairs and cartilage removals and joint replacements . . . and racquetball and cycling and backpacking and camping . . . well, they never came back.

Life choices. We made them. We all make them and we live with them. Sometimes we look back and regret them. Sometimes we look back and we don’t. Sometimes we look back and we wonder “What if?”

Jesus made those choices. “No, I won’t claim dominion over the world. No, I won’t miraculously feed myself. No, I won’t call on the angels for their aid.” He made other choices. He called Peter and James and John and Matthew and Thomas . . . and Judas. He welcomed Mary of Magdala but never married her. He chose not to follow in Joseph’s footsteps but in Moses’ and Isaiah’s. Did he look back? With regret? Without regret? Did he wonder “What if?”

I think he had to. If the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews is correct and Jesus is like us, “like his brothers and sisters in every respect,”[1] then he had to have had these sorts of thoughts and memories. He had to wonder, from time to time, “What if?” about his life and the choices he made.


Click on footnote numbers to link back to associated text.

[1] Hebrews 2:17