Decision-making, of the momentous, life-changing sort, has always
been a lengthy and even painful process for me. l agonize and pray
and try to discern how my heart is being led...usually I seek out the
counsel of friends I trust, as well as perusing words of wisdom from
favorite writers, biblical and otherwise. And- eventually- the way
seems clear...the answer seeming to arise from my very depths...
an inner voice of sorts affirming my decision.
Now this not to say I have not made some colossal mistakes over
the years. But even those "mistakes", it seems, have been the
source of learning and growth (once I get past the consternation
at being wrong, of course.) But seldom have I been faced with a
decision with as much potential for both pain and pleasure or as
fraught with emotion as the one with which I have been wrestling
for the past several months: whether or not to sell my house and
move into an apartment...to downsize in a major way...to live far
more frugally (both a moral and a practical necessity)...to give
up a space which is far too big for one not-so-large aging woman
and settle into a smaller "nest" for the coming years.
First, let me clearly state: I have loved my house, and it has been
my home for twelve years, during that time housing both my
mother and my youngest son for lengthy periods. But since
January, there has been one occupant: me. And as I look at the
mounting cost of utilities and property taxes, plus the continual
upkeep inherent in owning a home nearly ninety years old, I
have felt that perhaps now is the time.
Part of the hang- up for me has been my family. They love
coming here at Christmas and on other occasions, and the Grands
thoroughly enjoy the yard yard and the little park just a block
away. With an extra bedroom, I always always have room for a
guest, either family member or friend. And my lovely blue living
room walls have offered shelter and solace to any number of
hurting people over the years. Part, too, has been my concern
(admittedly quite possibly unwarranted) for the reaction of
friends who, because their own life situation is so different from
mine, find such a decision incomprehensible.
So I have been wrestling...and praying...and vacillating...fearful
of making a mistake, since this is a big, BIG decision. And as
has happened so often in my life, I came across/was led to a
small book by one of my favorite authors, Joan Chittister,
entitled Following the Path. It's all about making choices,
decisions which are authentic...which allow us to be the best
and fullest of who we really are. And this morning as I read
and journaled, some of her words hit home in a big way.
The decision-making discernment process is never an easy one,
Joan says. "...just knowing what we really do want to do- and
why- is the arduous part of the process." And at another place
her words found the mark: "When I give way to the obstacles
I create for myself, I doom myself to under-development."
Then the morning's final zinger (or perhaps affirmation):
"What was right for me at one point in my life may not be right
at all at another point."
To top it all off, Chittester included a quote from one of my
favorite poets, e.e. Cummings, who once famously wrote:
to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best,
night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight
the hardest battle which any human can fight; and never stop
And though my own poetic efforts fall far short of Cummings',
I still find poetry my best and truest emotional outlet, and so
Standing on the brink
Teetering on the edge
Butterflies in my stomach
Do I dare? Take the leap?
Will I fall-
or will I spread eagles' wings
To be continued...