I can’t believe that it has been 16 years since I waited anxiously for the results of the election that would determine if I would be state representative. And now, come January, the second person to follow my tenure in Jefferson City will assume office.

I can’t believe that it has been 16 years since I waited anxiously for the results of the election that would determine if I would be state representative. And now, come January, the second person to follow my tenure in Jefferson City will assume office.

 

When Bill Reiboldt took over the reins from me in 2011 I told him that the time would go in a blink but don’t think he really believed me. Now here it is and someone will take over from him in just months.

 

From time to time I stop and ponder just how life would have been different had I not won that election in 2002. Mine was a three way primary with no opposition in the general election so whoever won in August was virtually assured of winning in November.

 

It was a long and tough campaign but it was also a clean one with no mudslinging or name calling – the way it should be. One of my opponents has moved out of this area but one is still here and I consider him a friend.

 

Of course, I won in an overwhelming tidal flood of 81 votes. Wow, some kind of mandate that was. That small margin is what makes we sometimes think how life would have been if just a very small number of people had voted differently. And, maybe my opponents have wondered the same.

 

When I ran it was something I had wanted to do for a long while and just assumed that my desire was the same as God’s for my life. So, I don’t remember asking Him if this was what He wanted me to do. Obviously it was His plan but I really did it backwards. Instead of saying “God, I’m going to do this, so thanks for the support”, I should have asked “God, is this what you want me to do?”

 

Since my departure from Jefferson City I have been asked and urged (sometimes strongly) to run for other offices but I learned from that first experience and ask God instead of telling God. And, He has not moved me to run for another elected position so that has not been in His plan for me.

 

On one of my re-election campaigns I was talking with then Newton County Presiding Commissioner Jerry Carter and lamenting about having an opponent. Jerry said that if God wanted me to win an election there was nothing someone could do to prevent it but if He didn’t then there wasn’t anything I could do to make it happen.

 

This advice doesn’t just apply to campaigns and elections – it applies to everything we do in life. When we stop telling God our plans and start asking Him for His plans, things seem to go so much better. But yet, every day we seem to have to relearn that lesson, and sometimes with tough consequences.

 

Was watching a rerun of Criminal Minds the other night and there is always a quote at the beginning or end or sometimes both. This particular one pretty much sums up the thoughts on this. Don’t remember who said it but the quote was “we sometimes find our destiny on the road we are on trying to avoid it”.

 

I may not have gotten the quote completely correct but you get the idea. I have this quote stuck on my refrigerator. “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us”! That is pretty compelling and illustrates how Christians should be living every day – at the direction of God and not according to our own plans and desires.

 

We can’t live our lives wondering what if but it’s okay to sometimes look back and think about what could have been. For me personally, if I am really honest and look real close, I can see where God’s hand has been in my life and how much better His choices have been than mine. I just wish I would not be so bull headed and not keep trying to impose my wants instead of listening to His plans.

 

Since I’m looking back, 40 years ago on August 12, 1978 my life changed forever (and in a good way). I married my high school sweetheart and best friend. Of course she was robbing the cradle as I was but a babe of 19 and she was an older 20 year old but here we are four decades later and still putting up with each other.

 

Talk about God’s perfect plan - I could not have had a better partner to have spent my life with and I’m just grateful that she has had the patience to put up with me for all these years. And time going by in the blink of an eye? It just doesn’t seem that it has been 40 years. Melody, I love you more today than ever and hope that you can continue to put up with me for a few more years.

 

Kevin Wilson writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.