4 Reasons Choice is Powerful
Dec 27, 2019
An Excerpt from Just Be
“After the game, we went out to eat and sat on a patio at a restaurant on the harbor, talking until they closed for the night. We held hands as we walked down Boston’s cobbled stone streets, quietly watching everyone around us. I couldn’t believe the relationship we were forming. It was so incredible and I lost myself in it. Our love felt like a big band-aid on my damaged heart. I was hoping it would be the band-aid I needed to finally end all of the pain I had been suffering with. It was certainly doing a good job slowing my anxiety down. Or so I thought. Finally, we hailed a cab and went home.
The rest of the summer under the stars with him, brought more talks and greater love. I even moved upstairs and lived with him by the end of the summer. Things were moving at warp speed, but to us, it was a long time coming. We didn’t care about timing or the pace of our relationship. Time stood still when I was with him. We had decided to sublet my room out so Katie and Casey could save even more money, by splitting it four ways.
The fall semester was beginning and I started my part time job at the media company, along with taking five classes. I was really packing it in and enjoying life! However, Jason still saw through a lot of it. The closer we became, the more he saw the young girl hiding in a shell inside of me. He knew not to push me to talk about it. There were many nights, I would be awakened by a nightmare and Jason would ask me what I dreamed about?
“I can’t remember.” Was all he ever got in response. He knew it wasn’t true.
Finally, one night in late October, after we finished dinner, something shifted. We got comfy in our favorite spot on his deck, enjoying the cool fall night air. He grew serious when he looked at me.
“What happened to you darling?” I looked at him, puzzled and thought he meant earlier that day when I didn’t call him back for hours.
“I’m sorry, the day was so hectic. After my morning classes, I squeezed in some hours in the library after I went to the gym. Then I had to get to my job and...” He cut me off.
“No, what happened to you as a teenager?” He said it without a beat. What? Oh no! Icy fear pulsed through me, causing me to shiver against my quickening heart.
“Jason, I...I can’t,” I began to stutter, looking away.
“You can’t or you won’t?” He turned my head to face him again.
“You were hurt, weren’t you?” How did he possibly know that?
I also couldn’t believe how bold he was being and it started to anger me, but I knew the anger was not at him. I was angry at myself for letting that night still haunt me like it did, eating at me slowly as the years went by without any healing. Why would he even want to bring this up? Besides, I felt like I was doing so much better, except for the random nightmares here and there. All I could do was nod my head and he knew by that reaction that I couldn’t tell him the whole story. I didn’t even remember it anyway. I had totally blocked it out. As he continued to look at me, waiting for an answer, for the first time in years, I actually tried to remember and I just couldn’t. It was completely buried inside of me. What he said next nearly pushed me over the edge.
“And how have you lived your life since?” I looked at him completely dumbfounded. “Okay, let me rephrase. What are you accountable for from that night? Have you faced the truth yet?”
Accountable? I felt my face flush with anger and I quickly found my voice.
“Jason Andrew Gibson, how dare you! That’s the worst question you could have possibly asked me! Goodnight!” I screamed and stormed downstairs to find Kelly.
She was asleep in her room and I quietly got in beside her shedding many tears, as I tried not to awaken her. My tears weren’t out of anger from his question, it was out of realizing he was right. However, I was not in a place to receive the truth of his words. I didn’t know yet that Jason’s words would ultimately save me. His love was slowly beckoning me to come out of the darkness in my soul. I fell asleep, quietly cursing myself for how incredibly weak I still was and how I reacted to him.
It took me a little over a week to approach Jason after I stormed off from him that night. He gave me the space I needed and never pushed me to talk about it. I was very distracted with school and work, so that helped with the intense anxiety that emerged all over again since that conversation with him. I was desperately trying to understand what he was trying to say and why? Finally, one night after dinner, I opened up the discussion again.
“Jason, I’m sorry. I just can’t handle talking about my past. It’s better that way,” was all I could say. He was quiet for a while, which was something he did when he was cooking up just the right thing to say.
“Don’t be sorry to me Lindsay, be sorry to yourself. That’s your choice to ignore it, not mine, but in response to what you just said, that’s fine. Topic closed.” I was surprised at how I did not feel angry at what he said.
Instead, it had me think for the very first time about the word “choice”. As a rape victim, I felt like my choice was taken from me that night as well as my innocence. Where was the choice for me then? I was lost in my thoughts and I didn’t notice Jason was staring at me, searching my face with his own thoughts.
“I’m not talking about that actual night. I’m talking about now. Right now, what choice are you making to move forward?” He asked.
I didn’t answer. I wasn’t quite sure because a big part of me, in fact most of me, was still so angry and victimized. I felt like choices didn’t make any difference for me because anxiety and nightmares ruled my life, no matter what I would choose. I sighed out a huge breath of frustration and got up without answering him. I went to the bedroom to write in my journal. When I opened it, instead of diving into a long entry, I wrote one thing:
Whose fault is it that I am still so sad?
I didn’t answer it. Instead, I grew angrier. I wanted to scream. My rapist was at fault not me! I also wanted to scream at Jason too. Why did he put these thoughts in my head? I started to cry into a pillow, trying to muffle the sounds of my heartache. I missed who I was before that night, a young girl trying to find herself. My rapist took that away from me and therefore left me without any choices, but only to be in pain! I threw my journal across the room. Tears were falling down my face as the night was heavy on my mind, but I still couldn’t recall very much. What I did remember began to cycle through my head: his voice, the whistling, and parts of the room I was in.
As I sat there, allowing myself to release some tears, more pieces of that night for the first time came into view. I started to panic. I heard the late summer crickets and it even felt like blood was dripping down my legs. My heart was pounding through my chest as I saw the convenience store that I limped towards. NO!
I sat up and I started to choke. I couldn’t breathe. Why did I always choke like this whenever I remembered anything from that night? This is exactly why I don’t want to remember! I couldn’t handle the memories or the pain. I realized that the more I cried, the more I remembered, so I forced myself to turn everything off. Sitting on the edge of the bed now, I wiped away my tears, holding my breath until all the memories stopped.
Jason had heard me choking and came into the room and when he saw my face, he ran to me and we hugged for a long time. He took my hand and led me to the bed and turned on the television to help distract me. As we watched a movie together, I leaned into him and felt so safe. I still wasn’t too sure what he meant by all of his questions, but I knew he meant to help. I didn’t care to understand either. He loved me. Wasn’t that enough?”
Jason’s love caused me to seek freedom, not dependency on him. This excerpt from my memoir was the beginning of understanding my choices. Though I couldn’t change the past, I realized over time that I can make choices each day that affect my future. Jason’s rhetorical question, “what choice are you making to move forward?” was the beginning of freedom for me.
I not only want to make choices that move me forward, but I want to make WISE choices. Wisdom brings a different kind of thought process that initiates positive action and profoundly affects relationships, our purpose and our happiness.
Who wouldn’t want to be wise? Well, a lot of us want to be, but on a long list of what you might ask if you could have anything you want, wisdom is not at the top of the list. We might ask for more wealth, health, maybe a few years younger or more lofty things like peace in the Middle East or an end to world hunger.
You might ask for a heart that knows how to understand and exercise sound, reverent judgment. This is not asking for more knowledge or intelligence, it’s asking for being able to look at a situation and know the right thing to do.
I once heard it described like this: imagine three friends taking a walk one summer day. The first notices clouds forming and says, “Those are cumuli-nimbus clouds. When they get all big and puffy like that, they’re usually full of rain.”
After a flash of lightning, the second counts five seconds between the flash and the thunder that follows. “Since sound travels 1100 feet per second, the lightning was a little over a mile from here. We’re probably going to get some rain.”
The third responds, “Our houses are on the other side of the town. Let’s run into the church to wait out the storm, and call our parents to let them know we’re okay.”
I wish my kids were like that! So, which friend displayed knowledge? (The first; he knew basic facts about clouds.) Which had intelligence? (The second; he was able to apply some of the knowledge.)
Which one had true wisdom? (The last, of course; she was able to take knowledge and intelligence and use them to make a good judgment about what they should do.)
Then take the right action. Often what blocks us from making wise choices is our inability to integrate the facts and application to our situation and relationships. We might have fear or had experiences from the past that prevent letting go so that we can integrate.
Certainly, that was true in my life. I was so locked in fear, that I couldn’t see the facts or the application of them into my current situation. I couldn’t surrender in order for the wiser me to come forward.
Fear and anxiety kept me from making wise choices. Unblocking that first led me to my true self allowing wisdom to guide my life.
Here are 4 reasons to surrender so that wise choices can emerge:
- YOU HAVE BETTER RELATIONSHIPS. Notice in the above story that not only did the wise friend desire to seek shelter for protection, but her wisdom also included others. She reached out to do the right thing by calling their parents. Relationships must be considered in true wisdom so that we do what is right for ourselves and others.
In many ways, it would be easy enough for us to end these thoughts here. We could reflect for a few minutes about the lack of a desire for wisdom in our personal relationships, work relationships and even our politicians; and we could ask for wisdom, which is a good thing.
But if we ended it here, we would be missing out on greater reasons to make wise choices. Too often our relationships suffer because we want to control everything.
We don’t communicate well and we don’t consider ourselves and others well-being because anxiety gets in the way. Surrendering our need to control things is the first step to better relationships with ourselves and others.
- YOU BECOME SURE OF YOUR PURPOSE. Wisdom always calls us to seek what is true and right in our lives, but too often we get bogged down in selfish agendas and ulterior motives that don’t serve to help a situation and bring truth and the greater good. Holding onto our faith is key to our good judgments and wise choices. When we don’t, here is where wisdom can break down.
Admirable goals that are not filled with the things of faith i.e. compassion, forgiveness, kindness, empathy and a desire to serve others leads us away from love and will tear our souls apart.
When we work outside of these things, we are not in alignment with our true purpose. When we surrender the things that have not served us well, we are in a position of power and have clarity. Clarity helps us choose wisely.
- LOVE LEADS YOUR WAY. Where’s the good news in all of this? Well, we may not be wise 100% of the time but we can choose love and let that lead us to making wise decisions. Love is the reason for everything, and love leads the way when we surrender to what we are feeling and make peace.
How do we apply this to our day to day decisions? I think we must first understand what wisdom really is.
First, true wisdom comes from that which is unseen. It is a supernatural intelligence that is available to us when we tap into the flow of love. For love points us to wisdom, which is like a pearl whose hidden "mystery" can only be revealed by the Spirit speaking to our spirit.
Second, love’s wisdom is not wisdom of the world, because it can't be bought, it can't be studied for, or earned. There are many highly intelligent men and women who have exhaustive knowledge of the world's wisdom, but are completely ignorant of wisdom, higher thoughts and sacred words. In other words, "Great people are not always wise...".
- YOU BECOME MORE DISCERNING. Discernment is part of the wisdom process that helps us go within to gather the facts and knowledge that we need to move into right action. Through meditation, readings that are inspired and conversation we are helped to make wise choices.
Wisdom asks that we think big. The saying “think big or go home” applies here. So I’ll leave you with this final thought by Howard Thurman:
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Are you alive? If not, then it’s time to surrender to love’s calling.
In my short story this month, Rebecca is asked by her new love to choose her heart and passion for painting or her high profile job. Find out how she made a wise choice for herself that led her to a life of her dreams.
When we tap into love and come alive, then we can make the wisest decisions of all. In this New Year with new opportunities ahead, this is the time to tell your story. How are you being called to do amazing, meaningful, and transforming things? And in your wisdom, find all that you have ever asked for?
It can happen and life can become wonderful and inspiring you to reach goals that your heart is calling you to. All you have to do is say YES to life. YES to love. The rest will follow. Join me in my monthly short story series where you will find inspiration, love, laughter and encouragement in your life.