Should have. Could have. Would have. The three cop-outs.
You should have done that: a rebuke. You could have done that: another rebuke. I would have done that: a stinging rebuke. Strikes me as odd. How quickly we shift from the connection of “why” to the distance of “rebuke”.
Who is being heard? Who is being loved? What is being learned?
Should have: “I have seen, listened and weighed up the available information. On the basis of my own perceptions I now pronounce judgement: you should have …”
Could have: “I have seen, listened and weighed up the available information. On the basis of my own perceptions I now pronounce judgement: you could have …”
Would have: “I have seen, listened and weighed up the available information. On the basis of my own perceptions I now pronounce judgement: I – being wiser, more mature, more loving and kinder than you – I would have …”
When “stuff” happens … when we go through the post-mortem of a dead occurrence … just what life are we trying to breathe back into this dead moment? When we “offer our help” in trying to have the participants understand the error of their ways (what we call “peace-making”) – how often do we then entrench opposing views even further?
Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
I see many learned and educated people offering opinions on all matter of occurrences. I also see many people offering one word. I sometimes ponder: one word is all they have, no well-formed arguments, no well thought-through sequential debating points – just one word that expresses what they feel.
I see many people so busy with their goals and objectives – living up to their own aspirations and hopes. And I see a few who say “This moment, right now, is BEAUTIFUL (or sad, or painful or joyous)!”. And I ponder … which one “aspires” to achieve, and which has already achieved?
I am learning – incredibly slowly – my choices will always impact upon another: another person, another life, another moment, another “next choice” that I will make in another of my “next moments”.
We are all rich in choice.
Even when we choose to believe we had no choice. Even when we blame another for taking the choice from us. Even when we choose to say it was not my fault. And even when we choose to say – “I cannot decide – you choose for me”. We are always choosing from our wealth of choice.
And choices are always action and inaction: silence or noise, giving or withholding, asking or telling, being right or being wrong, being harsh or being gentle, making a choice OR making a choice.
Neither is always right OR wrong. Every moment – like every person – is unique and full of that potential “Should, Could and Would”. But every choice is a choice that we choose from our abundance of choice (that wealth we so often prefer to see as “poverty of choice”).
And every choice we make WILL impact upon “another”. Another someone, another moment, another of my own next moments of choice.
So in each moment –
How often do I choose loving?