if only...

Miss Tulsa, Georgine Leeka and Her Roommate Rotating Their Feet to Reduce Their Ankles Photographic Print
Miss Tulsa, Georgine Leeka and Her Roommate Rotating Their Feet to Reduce Their Ankles
by Joe Scherschel

there are so many situations that can leave you saying... if only.

and the last couple of days i have thought it a thousand times.

a friend of mine from the past has run into some tough times, and i am thinking if only...

she is finding help, she is dedicated to change...

and my mind is reeling, and my heart is hurting, and i just keep wondering, if only...

and i am remembering the good times we had what seems like so many years ago...

coloring our hair in the dorm bathroom. laughing til i pee my pants. propping the back door open so one of us could sneak in undetected. finals week and not sleeping. invading the computer lab after hours. falling asleep to the postal service every night. bowling class. hand solitaire in the back of chapel. write ups for laughing too loud after quiet hour. write ups for staying out too late. write ups for holey jeans. write ups for everything. how did we ever finish college? oh yah... we didn't. that's right.

and i am remembering times trying to make sense of it all. times of confusion, and pain, and doubt. times of wondering where we would go, and what would become of us.

wondering why you kept yourself at a distance, wondering why you would get close and then push away. wondering why you could never be one hundred percent real, honest, true. wondering what it was you were hiding. and wishing i could make you understand that none of it mattered, that we were there for you.

crying with you over your past hurts, wishing i could take them away. praying with you about fears and doubts and hopes and dreams. dreaming about the future, and our friendship that would last.

but things changed, and we grew apart, and our lives took different turns.

and life was hard for you, and things were difficult, and i wasn't there.

and you needed a friend, one who knew, and understood, and could cry and laugh and pray with you. and i wasn't there.

if only i was there... if only we hadn't grown apart... if only you could have called me up, if only i ever answered my phone. if only i would have prayed for you harder, thought of you more often, missed you more than i did. if only, if only, if only...

deep down i know all the if-onlying in the world makes no difference now, and deep down i know i couldn't have changed any of it at all. i know you would still be where you are today. but perhaps, just maybe, you could have had a friend along the way. a shoulder to cry on, someone to hug you, someone to remind you who are you, where are you have come from, and the person you were meant to be.

if only i was there now, i would tell you how brave you are. how strong you are. how proud i am of you. i would tell you what a beautiful person you are, how your love for others and gift of encouragement is something i have, elsewhere, rarely seen. i would tell you i loved you, and i never stopped. i would tell you i believed in you.

i would tell you i was sorry. i am so sorry i wasn't there. i am so sorry that i let time and life grow between us. i am sorry you couldn't depend on me. i am sorry i was never the friend to you, that you were to me.

know, dear friend, wherever you are, wherever you go, whoever you become; you are loved, you are chosen. not only by God, but also by me. know that you are beautiful and you are worth it. know that you have an old friend in omaha nebraska who loves you and believes in, who knows you can change. know that i am praying for you.

i know there is no point in if only-ing. that it only causes more hurt, and pain, and confusion. and i will try my best to stop if only-ing, and know that i am not in control. i will feel peace in knowing that God knows better than me. and i will try not to live in the if only-s, i will try not to live in the past. i will try to move on, move to change, just like you are doing now.

and i will pray that someday soon, our paths will cross again, and i can tell you just how i feel. i will pray that you and i can be friends like we used to be, again someday, perhaps someday soon.

Girl Helping Friend Pin a Gardenia on Her Dress Before the Smith College Super Dance
by Alfred Eisenstaedt


  1. I think we all can relate in some way or another. We leave so many behind as we move on with our lives, and there is always someone we wish we could have stayed close to or been there for, or whatever it was they must have needed. I thank God everyday for the gift of free agency that he gave us because he loves us so much, but sometimes it hurts to see how those we love choose to use it. I will pray for your friend and that you will have peace.

  2. M - this is so beautifully written. I can think of a few people about whom I feel the same way... but your writing, partnered with these amazing photos, speaks well of your soul. thank you!

  3. Haven't we all felt this way about at least one person in our lives? It is a wonderful testament to friendship....thanks so much.

  4. I feel this way too when certain people come to mind... I can't change the past so I simply pray their future is better.


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