I recently posted a response to a blog that I follow called, “Where Living Begins” by Richard L. Rice. (firstname.lastname@example.org) This particular blog post of his was titled, “Manly Handsome” and it discussed his recent choice to have his hair “shaved close to the scalp”. My response to his choice was to acknowledge his courage in doing so.
From him, I received this reply:
“I’ve learned that every single step forward is one of courage. I think it also takes courage to step backward from something. Even standing your ground can be courageous in the midst of turmoil.
Maybe courage isn’t so much the direction you take, but that you are following the direction least comfortable for you. Hmmmm. Another blog post? I know you’re courageous enough to write it!”
I took his reply to be a challenge of sorts. And I’ve accepted that challenge.
* * * * * *
While walking with a friend this evening, I heard the words “You told me you weren’t afraid.” We were discussing some of my life changes over the past few months. I responded that I wasn’t afraid of making the choices to change my life. Because the scary part doesn’t come until after you’ve made the choice.
The scary parts come when people react to the choices that you’ve made. Sometimes they react with excitement, support and encouragement. Other times they react with fear, anger or sadness because they are realizing how your choices will affect them. They begin to see what your choice either adds to or detracts from themselves or the relationship you share. Or even the beliefs that they’ve come to accept about you.
When we choose to follow the direction least comfortable for ourselves, it stretches our faith muscles. The faith we have in ourselves. The faith we have in our closest relationships. Following the least comfortable direction tests those relationships. Some relationships will stand and face the strain and become even stronger for the challenge. Sadly some relationships may fade away, just as other new ones are born of the changes made.
As September draws to a close I reflect on the past five months of changes I’ve made in my life. Big changes that have created equally big reactions from those closest to me. Growing pains that are leaving some stretch marks of faith as we all transition to what has been the least comfortable direction.
It would have been easier if I had chosen to remain where I was. Doing as I had always done. Being where I had always been. It felt safe. It felt normal. It had become what others expected of me. And what I had accepted as my life.
But… life doesn’t stand still. The only certain thing we have in life is that everything changes. Even if we choose to stand still, life around us is always changing. And we are forced to change right along with it. Whether we’re ready for it or not.
Rather than be forced into change by the bumps in the road that life presents, I gradually learned to become an active participant in my own life. It’s the ‘impact statement’ I chose for my blog… 1smiles: Actively participating in my own life!
I don’t have any idea where my new choices are taking me or what life has in store for me. My guess is that there will be a mixture of successes and failures. Trials and errors. Lessons learned. And joys and happiness. I know that in the past five months, I’ve experienced all of these and more.
Even though I get scared sometimes. And even though life is stretching faith muscles, I look at all I’m learning from it and how I’m growing. I’m finding out that even though we might not all make the same choices, whether we stand still or step forward, we all still face the same things in life.