October 9, 2017

Tough Decisions

Every day in life, we have to decide things. What do I have for breakfast?  What am I going to wear today?  Who will my friends be?  Am I going to have a treatment that will possibly stabilize this fast moving chronic rejection of unknown origin in my transplanted lungs, or that could possibly cause side effects and infections afterward that would kill me anyway?
I think the kids these days call that "Plot Twist!"
How do you choose between something that could possibly make your life infinitely better - or  disastrously worse?
When you're faced with a path that's not obvious to you, but the consequences of either direction are so different and so severe - how do you know what to do?
Robert Frost said he took the path less traveled and that made all the difference. That's all well and good in poetry, but somehow in real life I think it's a totally different story.
I've never been a huge risk taker, and I've never been a person to gamble.  Actually quite the opposite - I I typically have to know exactly where my next foot step is going to land before I take it.
My current situation is completely out of my realm. But, I suppose, deep down, I know that I have to do this. It's really not an option of yes or no. Not for me. So, because it's not a yes or no - it's just a move forward kind of thing – how do I motivate myself past the obsession of thinking about all the things that could go wrong? It's really hard not to think about the long list of risks. I suppose someone else would tell me to think about all the benefits instead. To focus on the positive. And I'm sure that that would drown out all the bad things and make me feel better about what I have to do. And that's good advice. And that typically works.
However, in this situation, I guess I feel that I'm choosing between death and death - and that doesn't feel like a good place to be.
You know that saying stuck between a rock and a hard place? This doesn't even begin to describe the way I feel laying in this bed right now waiting to start this treatment.
I'm trying to stay focused on my family at home.
I'm trying to think about the beautiful day that I had yesterday before I came with Leland and some of our "kids" from our local area at Boykin Springs, playing outside in the beautiful weather and watching them splash and laugh so happily in the waterfall.
I'm trying to think of all the people who need to hear about God and the hope of the good news in the Bible that I believe in and how it's my job to teach them.
I'm trying to stay focused on what I've learned in the past week about the gifts that I've been given and how I have a really keen ability to be able to help people even though I may not be physically able to do a lot of things other people can do.
So, while I'm laying here waiting to start this treatment and thinking about all the things that could go wrong and could be disastrous and could kill me, I'm trying to crowd out all those terrible thoughts with all the good things. And I know I will succeed.  Why?  Because I was shown through my family, my friends, through those I was able to help, and through the things I am sill able to do that I can.  Our strengths come not from what we can no longer do or comparing ourselves to our past selves.  That will only ever bring pain and frustration.  Our strength comes from focusing on what we still have, what we can still do, and nurturing and building that up to the best of our ability.  That is what will being you joy and strength and satisfaction.  Take it from someone who learned the hard way.
Right before my Campath treatment, I was in a really bad headspace, I would've never been able to handle it the way that I was. But through all of these different experiences (helping a friend, playing with my "kids," volunteering, writing cards and letters to others, baking cookies for disaster victims...) I was helped to get to a spiritual mental and emotional strength to be able to cope with right now.
So, that's how you make a choice between something that could possibly make your life infinitely better or disastrously worse. You pray, read, you talk, you listen. You feel. Then you have to have faith and trust that what you came up with is the right decision. And you can't go back. You just have to believe that you were guided to the right place. Then once the decision is made you have to fight with the stubborn determination that your life has put inside you. I have to believe that this is going to work and then I'm going to get back to my family, I'm going to be frolicking in that waterfall at Boykin springs with my "kids" soon again, have the privilege of teaching others, and doing what I do best. I must focus and believe. It will happen for me. It will.

How do you make the tough decisions?  Comment below, or visit me on my Facebook Page to join the discussion!