I WISH I HAD KNOWN THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW
Mickey Mantle’s father was right handed and his grandfather was left handed. Between them, they taught him to switch hit. He is widely regarded to be the greatest switch hitter of all time, and one of the greatest players ever. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and was elected to the All-Century Team in 1999. Among his many other honors was winning the Triple Crown in 1956, leading in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.
The men in his family all died young. "I'm not gonna be cheated," he would say. Long before seeking treatment for alcoholism, Mantle admitted his hard living had hurt both his playing and his family.
Mantle didn’t know that genetics had nothing to do with the men in his family dying young. They worked in mines and inhaled lead and zinc dust, which contribute to Hodgkins’ and other cancers. As the years passed, and he had outlived all the men in his family by several years, he frequently used a line popularized by football legend Bobby Layne, who also died in part due to alcohol abuse: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself."
That’s a variation of something many of us have thought at one time or another. “I wish I had known then what I know now.”
Almost thirty years ago, was interpreting a computer programming class for a deaf student. The teacher brought in something some students had heard about but had never seen, a personal computer. I wish I had known then that a $1 investment in Apple computer would return over $2000.
Dr J. Edwin Orr, perhaps the twentieth century’s greatest authority on revival, took some students to England in 1940. One of the stops was Epworth Rectory where John Wesley lived. Next to John Wesley’s bed are two worn impressions in the carpet where it is said John knelt and prayed for England's social and spiritual renewal. As the students were getting back on the bus Dr. Orr noticed one was missing. Going back upstairs he found one student kneeling in the carpet kneeholes praying with his face on the bed: "O Lord, do it again! Do it again!.” Orr placed a hand on the student's shoulder and whispered, "Come on Billy, we must be going." Billy Graham rose and rejoined the bus.
An interviewer asked Billy Graham if he had it all to do over again, would he do anything differently. He answered, “I’d travel less and pray more.”
If Billy Graham had known over 60 years ago what he knows now, he would have traveled less and prayed more. We should learn from his wisdom.