When you think back on your life, are there those moments when you would like to go back and give your younger self counsel? Would you like to help him or her navigate through circumstances a little bit better? I can think of many times in my life when I could have used good counsel, so whenever I write a post relating to this theme, it will be called Time Machine Moments. I will get in my Time Machine and go back and give my younger self counsel. Perhaps you will be able to relate to some of these moments as we travel back in time.photo by The Digital Artist, courtesy of Pixabay
I would take my Time Machine back to my first term in college. It was the summer session in Eugene and all of the male students were in one dorm and the female students were in another dorm. I was walking down the hall and I heard someone crying. The door was open and so I went into her room. She was a young, frightened foreign student from Viet Nam. I didn’t know her name, but could see she obviously was in distress. Her English wasn’t good but she was able to tell me she had gone to the eye doctor and needed glasses. She didn’t have the money to pay for them. I felt bad for her and told her I would see what I could do to help.
I went back to my room and began to think. I was seventeen myself and in a strange town where I didn’t know anyone. I was drawn into her problem by the emotion and felt motivated to do something, but what? I didn’t have much money as my father had placed me on a strict budget. So, I thought I needed to go with her to the eye doctor and ask them if they would consider giving her the glasses at a discount. I didn’t feel like I had any great social standing so I thought that perhaps if I used an important last name they might consider it. I chose the last name Kaiser because of the Kaiser foundation.
We went to the eye doctor and I introduced myself to the receptionist. I told her the problem and asked if they would consider giving her the glasses at a reduced price. She went in the other room for quite a while and then came back and told us the doctor had approved the discount and the girl could have her glasses. She was ecstatic and I was happy for her. I got no great satisfaction from the experience because I had lied about my name. At that point, I didn’t feel I should go back to the office and tell them the truth, so I felt that there was nothing to do but live with it.
When would I step in and give my younger self counsel? I would show up when she came back to the dorm room after she encountered the student crying. If her plan was to go to the eye doctor, I would tell her to use her own name. It would be enough. I would tell her, “To thine own self be true,” and quote Polonius. If the eye doctor was going to give the student the glasses, it would make no difference what name she used. The generosity was up to the doctor, and she didn’t need to try to tip the scales by using a false name.
I would also tell her that she had another option. Although her father was out of town a lot, she could wait and get ahold of him. He was very generous and he would probably just say to have the bill sent to him. If she would just step back from the urgency and the emotion of the moment, she could make better choices. I would tell her good-bye and step back into my time machine (Yes, it is a DeLorean!) until the next time she needed my counsel.photo by Dtavres, courtesty of Pixabay
As I think about that experience, are there any takeaways for my life today? I think so. Many times I am confronted by the needs of others and lots of those times there is a lot of emotion attached to those needs. I need to disassociate myself from the emotion and look at the situation objectively. Is there anything I can do and am supposed to do? If so, I should do it.
Is the situation beyond my ability to help? I would give myself the same advice I gave her, “Call your Father.” My earthly father has long since passed, but I have a Heavenly Father who is waiting and willing to answer my prayers. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you.” I need to take the situation to my Heavenly Father and ask Him to intervene in the situation and provide the need. I can trust Him to work out the situation and provide what is needed. After all, He is never out of options and He knows the people who can help meet the need.
I also need to remember Polonius’s counsel. “This above all: To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to anyone.” Will Shakespeare had it correct.