I thought about trying to be elected as the new Pope. My qualifications for this calling might have been challenged by the cardinals and anyone else who knows me.
• I am old enough to be the Pope, and I did attend Catechism classes as a youngster with my friend, Dominic Chavez. Giving speeches is comfortable for me, and we all enjoy applause. People waiting on me and driving me everywhere is just fine with me. The press reported that the cardinals were seeking a pope with administrative experience. I have been a boss in government positions and owned my own business.
Before I decided not to seek the election, I decided the following reasons would prevent me from being a Pope:
— I don’t like to wear hats taller than a two-year-old child.
— The older I get, the less I like crowds.
— Being a USC football fan would not be appreciated by the cardinals who elect the pope.
— In general, I prefer the company of women at work and at home; and I would never deny women the right to be elected pope. Spending every workday with men would only bore me stiff.
— The cardinals would demand that I divorce Monika and not remarry. I would not survive as a bachelor. The walls would close in on me and I would become insane.
— Long, flowing robes would be a hindrance for occupying a bar stool, riding a motorcycle or taking a nice, long summer hike.
— Listening to confessions would shock my sensitive soul.
• Now I can tell my grandchildren, “I could have been a contender, but I decided not to run for election.” My many Catholic friends feel relieved, and my Protestant friends have always told me I would keep a priest busy if he had to listen to all my sins during confession sessions.
• I still like the sound of “Pope Bob!”
• There are people I know who spend a lot of time and energy thinking about what could have been possible in their lives. These favorite phrases are “what if” or “if only.”
• These people in the “if only” world blame situations and other people for their present life. Rarely do they accept responsibility for their current life status.
• The “what if” people spend way too much time reliving the past. Always talking about the past leaves little time for enjoying the present or being hopeful about the future.
• An article in the New Yorker magazine is titled “This Is Your Life” by Joan Acocella. She offers the following quote about Adam Phillips’ book, “Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life:” “Instead of feeling that we should have a better life,” he says, “we should just live as gratifying as possible, the life we have. Otherwise we are setting ourselves up for bitterness.”
• Adam is right. It’s better to appreciate the positives in our life and to be thankful, instead of bitter. Accenting the positive allows you to enjoy the present and to let go of the past. The past is over, done … just let it go before the past owns you.
• Probably all of us, or at least most of us, have thought about mistakes we made and wish we could do it over, in a different way.
• A fact of life is that we were and we are responsible for our lives. Outside sources influence our decisions, but in the end, we made choices. We were not contenders because it wasn’t important enough to us.
• Put your energy towards the realization that you are worthy … worthy of love and worthy of respect. Don’t give your energy to the “if only” world. Save your energy for the right now and avoid the bitterness of the “if only” world. Amen.
Bob Billingsley is an El Dorado Hills resident and bi-weekly columnist at the Mountain Democrat.