All too often, you hear people say, “I don’t have a choice”. I don’t believe that, and I know many people who would agree with me. Life is full of choices. Some are easy ones about what to have for lunch, which route to take to the market, or what to wear for the day. Others are more complex and affect our lifestyle and core beliefs, relationships and people in our lives. Choices are about options and corresponding consequences. Sometimes the consequences seem too hard, so we make a different choice. Maybe not the right one. One of my choices has me worrying about the consequences.
Right now, twice a week, I have to do something that, quite honestly, scares me. Not only does it scare me, it brings conflict. This conflict is threatening my emotional stability, physical well being, and the balance in my relationships. I’d be less than honest if I said I didn’t wonder about my choice. Actually, it isn’t the choice I question, it is my strength, or lack thereof, to face the possible outcome.
Every Monday and Thursday, I have to face a man that intimidates me. I don’t trust this man; I don’t like him, and I don’t respect him. Yet I am shaken with each encounter, anxious, and physically affected beforehand and afterwards. It would be easy for me to say I don’t have a choice about these encounters. A piece of paper and some official people tell me I must do this. However, I agreed to this, so I made my choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I know this man’s story on paper; I see him for the manipulator that he seemingly is. If I’m right, he has a conflict with me and who I am just as much as I do with him. It feels like my presence unnerves him. Our interactions are brief, filled with nervous energy and unspoken tension. My job is to remain calm and logical, cooperative and uncontentious. If he is aggressive, I can’t be. If he is intense, I must remain relaxed. He says and does everything right in front of those official people, smiles and plays nice. His eyes say something different, and my gut tells me to flee. I don’t flee; I choose to stay.
I don’t think I am afraid of him. I am afraid of what he represents. This one man represents the potential for an incredible amount of loss. Loss that would be heart wrenching. Loss that would affect my joy, my family, and my hope. So I have another choice. I can choose to let this situation keep me in a state of worry, fear and unease. If I do that, it will continue to rob my time of happiness and security. It will continue to take me away from moments and memories I can’t get back with my babies. Or, I can choose to face this situation, these visits, knowing that it is what it is, and he is who he is. So today, I choose joy and love. I choose to give my whole heart to my babies, my family, my friends. And if my choices lead to loss and heart wrenching sorrow, at least I gave each day joy and love now. I have to choose that.