by Francie Elaine Hartsog
for Roxana, who came into our life and with her radiant spirit, replenished our family with faith, hope & love. She needs no words to remind us faith and hope are always present, and her light bears witness to the greatest of these gifts… love. “Blessed, how happy are those who are meek, who claim nothing. For they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
If I had my life to live over, I would “make like broccoli and veg out” with absolutely no guilt. I would play Twister instead of practicing yoga. I would laugh out loud in the library. I would stop trying to save the world and work on saving myself. I would be stealthy, like a ninja. I would built a tiny house on top of a mountain and would float down the Greenbrier River in a raft. I would fish with my son. I would be kind to my body and not worry so much about how I look. I would not be in a hurry to wipe away tears. In fact, I would cry often. I would embrace loss and allow grief to wash over me like warm summer rain.
It’s true. I forget I cannot fly. My brain never stops, and so I never stop. I have worked hard to live my best life. I never knew it’s more important to live an authentic life. It sounds cheesy, but living an authentic life means telling the truth, come what may. It starts by telling yourself the truth.
If I had it to do all over again, I would live moment by moment. You know, rare moments of love so intense, time graciously stands still to let you breathe. Yeah. I would live for unexpected moments, and be grateful for every one. I would live for magical moments instead of filling time chasing dust bunnies.
I once gave parties where every detail was perfect. There was nothing left to chance. I made sure things were right. If I had to do it again, I would not stress over a chip in the china, or freak out over the not so fresh flowers. I would cut the stems, and with a pinch of sugar the flowers would open sleepy blossoms. The roses would live to see the weekend.
If I had my life to live over, I would take my grandchildren barefoot through mud puddles after a summer storm, squishing mud between our toes. I would run with them and we would jump into piles of crunchy autumn leaves. We would take a group vote and decide raking leaves is a highly overrated chore.
Yeah, there are things I would do differently. It isn’t too late. I will go dancing with my husband, build a castle in the sand, and adopt a new puppy. I will grow flowers in the backyard and fill my home with buckets of blossoms. The beauty of the petals will remind me of God’s never ending love for His children.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. I would pick white roses for faith, yellow roses for hope, and red roses for love. Red roses remind me of God’s unfailing and constant love for us all. May God Bless you on this blessed day of Sabbath.
If I Had My Life To Live Over Again by Nadine Stair
Author’s Note: The original poem, “If I Had My Life To Live Over Again” was taken from my collection of favorites and made into my own. It’s been a special part of my life, starting with my freshman year at Marshall University. I pledged Alpha XI Delta and as tradition went, I received a “big brother” from our brother fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. My big brother, Troy L Goodson, graduated high school with my “real brother” Mike Hartsog. Troy chose me to be his “lil sis” and we became the best of friends. He watched over me like any big brother should. He always made sure I was safe getting home, even walking me across campus to the safety of my dorm after night class. He took me to have my wisdom teeth removed, and stocked my dorm room with applesauce and jello. He actually agreed to watch “Gone with the Wind” with me in one sitting, and took me to see “The Color Purple” at the famous Keith Albee Theater. We both cried at the end, and it’s always been my opinion that real men cry at the movies, especially if a dog dies. Truth.
Troy gave me a copy of Nadine Stair’s poem at the end of my freshmen year, and although I was pretty young to think about living my life over, her words still resonated with me.
After graduation we went our separate ways, and a few times over the years an envelope would arrive from Texas with a worn copy of the poem, “If I Had My Life To Live Over Again” I would wait a few months, copy it, and mail back the one he sent to me. It was almost as if we were reminding each other, “Don’t waste time. Live your life to the fullest.” If you happen to stumble upon this, Troy, I hope you are living everyday with purpose, passion and love. You best believe “Baby Elaine” is. ❤️
If you have not been lucky enough to read Nadine Stair’s original work, here it is. She has graciously allowed people to write their own “If I had My Life To Live Over Again” poems, and I encourage you to do the same. Keep it, put it in a time capsule for your grandchildren with a letter encouraging them to pick lots of daisies. God Bless.
If I had my life to live over
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been on this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans…
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have…
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.