Jimmy was reared in modest means. A wholesome family, Jimmy’s parents worked hard and taught their children proper values and morals. They attended church regularly and the children rarely missed a day of school or the parents a day of work. Each member in the family contributed to the household responsibilities. Of course, there was the occasional excuse of forgetting to do them, but each child responded to a good reminder. Harmony characterized their everyday life. But they lived on the fringes, teetering between a better life defined by more income and a life close to having nothing should a calamity befall them.
Jimmy knew all this to be true. He had friends whose family was just like his. He also had friends who had more. This reality set in motion within Jimmy’s mind an “if-only” mentality, a mindset putting him on the road to perfectionism. Jimmy thought, “There is another side to life. When I get there, I will be secure. I will have what I do not have now.”
Jimmy grew, studied, graduated and started adulthood. All this time, his “if-only” mentality cemented and became his approach to every facet in his life. Then one day, he spotted it. There, parked at the country club he passed every day, he saw the finest, candy apple red Corvette he had ever seen. “Man,” he thought, “if-only.”
What fed his mind was not some feeling or covetous want, for Jimmy never coveted much except the one time his friend Buck got a new minibike. Driving his compulsion was this perfectionism that his life should be as he envisioned, this worldliness he saw others possess. He wanted it, too. That’s what the red Corvette represented, under the hood, in the seats and the dashboard, and the stylized lines of its design, the finished sculpture which said, “I’ve made it.”
Jimmy sensed it. In this “other” world he wished to enter, he noticed people possessing a seemingly secure life, a sort of confidence above the fray—if… only. This intimated to his young mind there was a world he had yet to experience, a world he believed, at least he thought, to which he should aspire. “It must be good to possess more,” he thought. And the red Corvette’s image entered his mind.
Over years, a series of events began Jimmy’s slide toward a deep reckoning. When those events took him to a place of decision, he reflected on his upbringing, his faith, his mistaken path. Giving his life back to God, Jimmy’s outlook improved. No longer did he value that world he had wanted. He thought often about the red Corvette. In his awakening, when he would pass by one, a tinge would rise within him, remembering a time and a want. He knew he would never own one. Joy returned to him the next time he saw a red Corvette and he felt nothing. Then, he laughed.
Reflecting, he looked over the arc of his life, thought, and said the words, “If-only.”