My Other Me’s

In the alternate universes that I wish I believed in, life might be so different for my other me’s.

The television show Fringe makes me thoughtful. I think about what my alternate self ponders. I wonder what my “Walternate” is like. Is he more secure than I am? Is he happy with the life he is living? Is he wishing he had a life more like mine?

One path has so many intersections.
One decision creates so many possibilities.
One choice has so many ripples.

If I was a Calvanist: this is the life God has chosen for me.
If I was an Armenianist: this is the life I have chosen.

I chose the path less traveled, going instead where there was no path to make my own tiny trails. And although there are times I dream of a different set of circumstances, I am satisfied with where I am now.

The storyline has been muddled at unique intervals. Confusion abounded and I craved a new horizon. But then I stood on top of that mountain ridge, overlooking the China/Myanmar border in Wa country. “The smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary had ever been” rose and dissipated into the pink hues of dusk. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. A silent whisper found its way from my lips: “Thank you, God, for calling me to be a missionary.”

“If God has called you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.” – Charles Spurgeon

But still, I sometimes wonder where I might be had I taken a different course in life. The endless spider web fractures spread lines in every direction of possibility.

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If only I could see my very own alternate me’s, the contrast of some versions might look like this:

David Joannes: acclaimed author and New York Times best seller.
David Joannes: film director for such movies as every one of your favorites.
David Joannes: rich and powerful Forbes 100 top billionaires.
David Joannes: wanderlust vagabond.

But the antonyms may include more similes than I had previously considered.

“If you’re brilliant and undiscovered and under appreciated, then you’re being too generous about your definition of brilliant.” – Seth Godin

I have come to grips with the fact that “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

It’s the narrative God is writing about me. It’s uniquely my own. Want to trade? Want to take a stroll in my shoes? You can’t, and you don’t truly want to anyway.

It would be nice to define myself in more exciting terms. I would charm you with my elaborate adjectives and perfectly crafted euphemisms. The thing is, there really isn’t a label that adequately defines any of us.

Cameron Strang of Relevant Magazine provokingly refers to himself as a “magazine/media publisher, husband, dad, Christian, design nerd, podcaster, and sports fan. But don’t label me.”

The other me’s in my would-be alternate universes are a far off dream. They will just have to go on appreciating life without crossing through the portal bridge of their universe to switch places with me.

In the meantime, I think I’ll enjoy the right here and now of the life God has given me.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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