I often reflect on the puzzle of that which is the human race; scattered pieces of discontent and distraction. We spend an immense amount of time wishing and hoping but never taking ownership of our part in it all. It’s taken me a lifetime to realize that our circumstances are always a direct reflection or result of choices. Choices made, and choices not. Your choices and theirs, the world of individuals and collective wholes. Aggressive action, and passivity alike, choice is the heartbeat of humankind. We spend our lives dreaming of cotton candy skies and pony rides. A desperate grasping of substance to fill the void of discomfort and disconnect, or worse, disappointment.

If & when 

We imagine if and when as the moments in life in which we will be bathed in our well-deserved, and welcomed reward. Banking on the notion that if only will lead us anywhere productive. As if when our dreams come true, something will spring forth creating a unique portrait of self. A lie sold as a promise. An exchange of one’s soul. Trading truth for potential and recompense. Here’s the thing, the ifs and whens of life are built on conjecture and devoid of choice and consequence. Life is not a 2-dimensional being. Life does not exist to simply happen. Life is, and always will be, a series of choices.

Point fingers, place blame, but none of it will change the fact that every circumstance in life leads back to a choice made or ignored. Neither action or inaction have breath without the precious gift of choice. Choosing to do nothing, is still a choice. I can look back over every situation, every conversation, and misunderstanding, and see where a tsunami of words and actions created the situation. Choices made to stay or walk away. To show compassion or contempt. Choosing how far and for how long, you’re willing to take the pain. All while disowning the fact that you have created the home in which you live. Throwing stones like a fool.

A Fool’s Prison

Isn’t that how it works? We create our own prisons. Develop and procure the atmosphere which strangles the life out of us. We hide, and we scream. We cry, and we pray. “If only you could hear me, God. I’ll know happiness when you answer my prayers.” Surrendering our concerns to God, while clinging to the notion that we’ve had no part in the life we live. If we didn’t create it, who did? We choose the path by which we walk or run. Small whispers of knowing may bend our ear, but ultimately the choice is ours. Listen or ignore. Life does not happen by accident.

Choice leads to purpose. Not worldly purpose, but Godly purpose. Every choice made with God and against the enemy leads to the path of understanding. Instilling the knowledge of self-control and mindfulness. Creating an energy of contemplative decision-making. The enemy has been whispering in my ear for decades. Most days I find I’m unsure of the source of the voice as if I must give it a name. Nameless as it remains, the voice has always been the enemy’s portal of doubt and condemnation. Planting an oozing rosebush of filth and discouragement. Leaving me desperate to bathe in anything that is true and good.

Shattered Glass & Ballerina Slippers

Purpose is where I found myself spinning after my car accident. Dancing atop a music box; forced to twirl amusingly without respite. Sucked into the human trap of “who am I?” As if circumstance dictates who our innermost being is or should be. It’s been an amazing life lesson to unearth the woman who was always hovering beneath the surface of doubt and desperate fear. Self-doubt and distrust. Wearing masks of accomplishment; shapeshifting from atmosphere to atmosphere, conforming to the reflection of self. The distorted backward view of a human, in the eyes of another. A mirror image – a kaleidoscope of perceptions and conceptions. Or is it misperceptions and misconceptions? Our view is skewed. Misunderstood.

I’ve lived my life believing my purpose was found solely in the needs of others. The needs of my parents, especially Mom. The needs of my friends, the few I allowed, to scale the walls of my fortress. The needs of my husband, a feeding frenzy of energy, consumed in response to becoming the dutiful wife. The needs of my son, a lifetime of focused concern, teaching, and all-encompassing love. School. Work. Always playing the part. Proud to inhabit the part each soul expected me to play. Taking note of every interaction, every punishment and reward, tucked away as a warning. A sign of what could be, good or bad.

I am my own captain

Knowledge used to create a version of myself that would make the most people happy. In the end, it all left me judgmental and bitter. It’s taken several long, painful moments of reflection to reach the conclusion that my choices have led to my state of mind. Believing my happiness could only exist when others are happy, left me trapped in a cycle of emotional discontent. Imagining I have the power to control the feelings of another, while never understanding that we each captain our own ships, with God’s help of course. We cannot captain the ship of another, nor can another navigate our path for us. If you’re traversing through life, dependent solely on the GPS of another, you will never arrive.

We cannot live our life, dependent on the acceptance of others. We cannot be directed by the choices of another. We cannot become distracted. Until we own our part and start making choices, life will never change. Seek refuge in the choices God sets before you.

‘If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.’ (Matthew 6:15) 
Photo by Diana Feil

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