I Want A Do Over
By Linda C Dipman
   
   Feathers floated and swirled all over the room as I began pulling handfuls out of the huge bag of
Down and placing them in a sofa cushion.  During all of the years I ran my own upholstery business, I
stuffed endless cushions and pillows, but I have never found a solution to preventing the mess that
would occur whenever a customer requested Down feathers.

   By the time I was done stuffing several cushions I looked as if I had been tarred and feathered.  The
lightness of the feathers created another hour of heavy clean up as thousands escaped their planned
destiny and lodged in minute corners of my upholstery shop.

   Sometimes I wished I had the ability to float and escape just like the feathers.  However, it seems
that once you begin on a certain path you must follow it no matter where it leads.  I guess that's the
reason why it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted a 'do over'.

   I wanted to change my destiny and travel a different path from the one I was traveling.  I wanted to
go back to high school and go to college instead of getting married.  I wanted to understand the
person I was made to be before I took the big plunge and raised a family.  I wanted to change my
future by a gigantic leap in a completely different direction.

   I am frustrated and disappointed in how my life turned out. Now for the first time, I am going to
indulge myself in the idea of what my life would have been like if I had chosen a different path.  

   First of all, I would choose a more stable career where I worked for someone who gave me health
insurance and of course a retirement.  Being self-employed takes a lot of faith. And understanding the
up's and down's of upholstery business and how you can have good and bad customers, well, I just
wouldn't even consider traveling that road again.

   I wouldn't be gay this time around.  I would deny myself love and just not love at all.  I would build a
wall around myself and pretend that I didn't need anyone.  I would isolate my feelings and refuse to
play the game of life because of all the pain and suffering I endured.

   This way, I wouldn't have gone through being crucified for being gay. I wouldn't have had to deal
with the humiliation of having the entire Religious Right conclude, without even knowing me, that I was
an evil sinner.  I wouldn't have had to deal with the fact that my overly religious family would turn their
backs on me and not care whether I was dead or alive.

   And as far as the messages from God, I guess He wouldn't have needed to talk to me, because I
would have protected myself from going through anything that brought me pain.  I would just stop
having faith.  I would go to church for friendship alone.  I would live my life for the world.

   Understanding flooded into my mind as the notion of starting my life again came into focus.  
Loneliness surfaced, forcing me to really think about what I was imagining.  Would not repeating what I
did before really be the best thing for me?  Or, if I had chosen a different path that was easier and with
less problems, would that change the person I had become?

   Mark 8:34-37, "Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him.  'If anyone wants to come with
me,'  he told them, 'he must forget himself, carry his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save
his own life will lose it;  but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  Does a person
gain anything if he wins the whole world but loses his life?  Of course not!  There is nothing he can
give to regain his life.'"

   When I thought of how much easier my world could have been without God, I realized that without
Him I would have been loveless and forgotten by all those who were a part of my life now.   I decided
instead of insisting on a 'do over' so I wouldn't have to repeat the pain I had experienced in life, that
maybe I needed to look at the person I was today and how my experiences changed me.

   I needed to carry my cross just like Jesus and see how my life measured up to God's will.  Did
following God in my life make me a better person?  Did the suffering I endure benefit my character and
make me a more loving and caring person?  

   So I began looking back and reflecting on my life, while asking God for insight into the reason why
the path I walked was so difficult.  I asked God to give me a life review.  I needed answers as to why I
had to go through so much pain.

   When I was young, I was known by everyone as a Christian because I refused to be influenced by
evil.  I didn't smoke, drink, or use bad language.  I didn't need to party in order to have fun.  I treated
everyone the same way regardless of whether they were rich or poor.  I cared about everyone,
because Jesus gave me compassion for all people.

   As a young married woman with three small children I learned to love my children unconditionally.  
Loving them and wanting the best for their lives inspired me to be a selfless mom.  A mom who handled
the times they were sick without complaining.   A mom who supported them in school and helped them
with their homework. A mom who didn't judge them as they moved from childhood to adulthood and
made their own mistakes in life.

    When I fell in love with another woman I realized what it was to depend on Jesus as my Savior.  I
needed Him to save me!  The persecutions I faced taught me not to judge.  I learned from my
experience as a gay person to forgive and love others regardless of how they treated me.

   Being gay was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because I no longer needed the
acceptance of people.  All I needed was God and His direction in my life. It helped me to seek out
information in text books and religious materials and to write books that prove that being gay is right
before God.  

   The supernatural messages I received from God gave me strength and the ability to understand why
my life was so hard.  I gained revelations on the battle between good and evil.  I interpreted my life
according to the fight I was waging against the evil forces of Satan that were trying to defeat my game
of life.   I realized that I was a soldier of God's side fighting against every evil thing that persuades
people to sin in the world.

   A vision of the kind of person I had become came into view and I realized I had been changed me
into a more loving, caring, selfless person.  A person who didn't love money, but used money to help
others.  A person who denied myself pleasures in order to serve others.  A person who loved
unconditionally.  A person who refused to judge.

   I thought about how different I was from the moment I began to play the game of life.  I liked the
person I was now more than the person I was when I was young.  I guess I didn't really want a 'do over'
after all.  I really just needed to see that all the pain and suffering was worth it.

   I'm not like the people of the world floating about like a feather and making a mess out of my life
because I cared only about myself.   I have a purpose and a destiny to help others understand their
lives in a different way.  I have a call to open people's eyes to seeing their world as a life game.

   Yes I have suffered.  Yes I have endured many pains, but most of all I have learned a lot.  My faith in
God has opened my eyes to the injustices people face in this world. The wisdom I have gained has
taught me to love all people regardless of who they are.  The knowledge I have to share, I give to the
world in hope that they will understand that every bad thing that happens to people is not meant to hurt
them, but to challenge them be better people.

   Mark 8: 38, "If a person is ashamed of me and of my teaching in this godless and wicked day, then
the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

   Jesus came to save people.  He came to help us conquer the evils of this world by changing us into
more caring, loving, selfless people.  The world may have seen my life as a disaster, but God saw the
person He wanted me to become.  

   God saw me as a person who would reign beside Him in eternity.  I know now that I don't want a 'do
over'.  Everything I have been through in my life has made me worthy of a greater reward in the world
to come.  

   Trust in God.  Look back and see how He has changed you through the experiences you have
faced.  Lift high your arms, because Jesus is coming soon.   Be selfless and love God!  God always
has your best interest in mind.