The past month or so has been difficult, even without the illness and passing of my mother-in-law, and more than once, I've been very close to -- on the very verge of, actually -- speaking words that would initiate a major life change.
I decided yesterday to take an hour or two off from getting caught up around the house. I grabbed my ipad mini, drove to Starbucks and picked up a venti Chai Tea Latte and a chocolate chip cookie, and drove to a spot where I could gaze at the Missouri River, read if the mood struck, and relax.
I sat there in my cozy cocoon (aka the sun-warmed driver's seat of my Prius) for almost 2 hours. While the Missouri flowed swiftly by, I read and watched bike riders and families of walkers go by. Much of the time, my mind was wandering lazily. What in my life causes me sorrow or distress? What could I do to bring positive change? Nothing new. The same questions that I've been pondering for months now. And I received the same answers.
Yesterday, though, I moved oh so close to making a decision. I thought the words. They lingered, tantalizingly close, and whispered in my ear.
And I was so tempted. Tempted to say the words that have been at the periphery of my brain for several months. But I didn't voice them. Oh, I know nobody would have heard me, that saying the words wouldn't commit me to the action. Yet something held me back.
So what did keep me from saying the words? What keeps me from making a decision and acting on it?
I'm not too proud to admit that one factor -- a very large factor, in fact -- is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what others who I care about would say, fear of the practical ramifications. Fear of making such a momentous decision on my own and having no-one to share the blame with if it's a flaming disaster.
Complacency is, without a doubt, another factor. I may not be overjoyed with some aspects of my current situation, but I know this situation, and I know how to deal with it. I have dealing with it down pat and can pretty much do it on autopilot. A major change would require major adjustments, and I'm just not ready to sign on for that. Not yet.
Lack of clarity is an issue as well. I've taken steps forward without knowing exactly what the consequences would be more than a few times in my life, but I was younger, more resilient, and I had a strong support system that I could count on if my action proved to be even a major misstep. Those who made up my support system have passed away, and now others depend on me to at least some degree. Stepping away from what I have to the unknown is much more intimidating in my present circumstances.
Also stopping me is the uncertainty as to whether or not the decision is coming from the right place. I want to make sure that instead of simply running away from something I don't like, I'm moving toward something that is the right thing for me.
I finally made a decision. My latte gone, my cookie nothing more than a few crumbs, I settled on a plan. I'm going to move forward as if I've made the decision, but without making it.
Early this morning, I made a list of every task I would need to complete if I actually committed to the change I'm contemplating, and I created a timetable for accomplishing each task. More importantly, though, I prayed about the situation, and I'm going to keep praying.
I'm confident that the answer will become apparent. Doors will either open, or they'll remain firmly closed. Either way, I'll move forward in faith and, I hope, peace.
What about you? If you've identified what you would like to do, what keeps you from doing it? What's holding you back? I hope you'll take some time this week to relax with a special treat in a beautiful spot and think about what you want and what you have to do to get there. I hope, too, that you'll share your thoughts . . . either through a comment here or via an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org