Choose Wisely



Marriage is hard. 

Divorce is hard. 

Choose your hard. 

 

Obesity is hard. 

Being fit is hard. 

Choose your hard.

 

Being in debt is hard. 

Being financially disciplined is hard. 

Choose your hard.

 

Communication is hard. 

Not communicating is hard. 

Choose your hard.

 

Life will never be easy. 

It will always be hard. 

But we can choose our hard. 

 

Choose wisely. 

 

-Author Unknown 

 

A friend, whom I cherish very much, sent me a photo from a journal and suggested it might be the inspiration for an interesting article.  Now, it just so happens that this beloved friend is also kind of my boss since I am a writer for the magazine she created, so this suggestion was also an assignment!  (Insert smiley and winky face emojis here!)  I just hate saying ‘no’ to this friend, and I was drawn to the charm of the photo and the theme of the message.  Yet, what to do with this idea of “choosing your hard”?  How to write about something that seems to be put quite succinctly in this sweetly, doodled page.

So, I pondered.  And I thought about the hard times I have experienced in my life and in the lives of others that I have witnessed.

Like so many of you, last year presented an opportunity to see more “hard” than usual.  And I don’t just mean the pandemic and the havoc it introduced to so many of our family, friends, and neighbors.  I watched a friend suffer great loss in her life… not once but three times.  My husband learned of a close young friend’s shocking cancer diagnosis. And all around us we watched as jobs were lost, pets crossed over, marriages crumbled, and friendships dismantled.

Yet, every one of the people I referenced in the above scenarios has also shared a laugh, hug, or joyful experience with me at some point in the last 18 months. Do they still hurt? Of course, they do!  Is there still healing taking place and emptiness that may never be filled? Yes.

But what each of these warriors shares as they navigate their new journey is how they chose their hard.

The sudden, tragic loss of a beloved husband turns the world upside down for a wife left behind. No one would blame her for shielding herself from the world and allowing grief to take up full-time residence. Yet, the woman I know chose a different hard.  She chose to look for the lessons that may exist in this tragedy, and she chose to feel the pain and glean strength from it when small amounts of light shone through.

So how do we steel ourselves for the next unexpected and possibly world-shattering “hard” that will undoubtedly come our way? How do we prepare to be warriors, choosing the hard that also offers growth and empowerment?  It might be as simple as cutting out the cute journal entry pictured here and placing it where we can see it so we can practice it in little moments each day.

I believe it’s trying to tell us that work is required by us each and every time we face a challenge and that it is our CHOICE which work we are going to do!  The work to just survive and get through or the work to survive, get through, heal and learn?  The work to handle the difficulties associated with challenges or the work to handle them with grace and share what they’ve taught us with others?

I am no counselor or inspirational speaker. And there is no judgment about how I see others handle life’s unexpected roadblocks and detours.  But I do know that these doodles will accompany me on whatever journey I am blessed with from this point forward. May my heart and soul see their way to choosing the hard and doing the work that brings me the most enlightenment and the ability to share love, laughter, and strength with others.

 


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