Over 10 years ago, I acted as notary in a will for a friend that lived a couple of blocks from my home.
For this kind of deed, the law in my jurisdiction requires the appearance of three witnesses that know the testatrix and and can see and listen to her.
When I arrived at my friend’s apartment, I was still crying from an incident I had had with my husband at the time. After ten years of marriage, the situation had become umbearable.
My friend consoled me for a while. Then one of her three friends who were there to act as witnesses politely asked me if she could give me some advice.
Having no clue of how her words would change the course of my life, I agreed.
With utter sensibility, the wise woman compassionately dispensed the following guidance:
You are young.
In 10 years, you will be 10 years older and inevitably lose some of your precious youth.
In 10 years, he will not have changed.
In 10 years, you will be so fed up that you will decide to divorce him anyway.
In 10 years, you will have suffered for 10 years in vain.
She did not tell me what I should do. She just gave me the tools I needed to reach my own conclusions. She helped me make the best decision.
I did not have to look again at the left-brained list of pros and cons I had concocted in an attempt to determine whether I should stay married to my husband or not.
The word ‘decision’ comes from the Latin “decidere”.The “de” means separate and the “cedere” from which “cision” comes from means cut off, reduce, eliminate.
After careful deliberation, I decided to cut off my marriage of 10 years. I reduced the misery that the relationship perpetrated upon me. I eliminated the emotional hemorrhage that drained my spirit.
It takes courage to terminate any marriage. When it has turned into a toxic relationship, self-respect and sanity demand that we muster the courage to go through with the parting.
I separated, waited the two years the law requires and eventually got a divorce. It took a while. But I tackled the fear that until that moment had kept me from choosing what my instincts had known for a while. When I got my divorce, I saved myself many years of anguish.
Ten years later, I am so glad that stranger crossed my path. The knowledge that her words instilled in me resonate to this day.
I am not a staunch promoter of divorce. Divorce is not the option to choose in any difficult circumstance a marriage may face. It could well be the easy way out, refusing to work out minor obstacles and depriving the couple of what could become a stronger, better relationship for life.
That, however, was not my case.
…You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care. About some you will say, ‘I don’t choose to go there.’
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.”
Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”
Most often than not, when faced with a choice, the most difficult option is the correct one. The path you should follow is usually the hardest one.
That does not mean that we do not know what the correct path is.
Deep inside of our beings, we know what road we should take.
I have listened to similar, infallible advice from other sources. They all express the same idea but use different platforms or concepts to do so.
Alan Cohen’s lecture “The Coin of Destiny” introduced me to an age-old precept regarding decision-making. People facing a dilemma should to craft a question that requires a “yes or no” answer. Having assigned a “yes” and “no” role to each side of a coin, you are to make yourself the question and toss the coin. If the answer is contrary to what you had rationalized to you should be inclined to choose, you will feel it in your body. If you are mindful, a physical discomfort should arise.
Likewise, if the result of tossing the coin is consonant with what you were inclined to decide upon, you will not feel anything strange or different in your body upon seeing the coin.
That is what is known as the “gut instinct”. The knowledge within us that prompts us to act according to what’s the correct way.
Catholics have another valuable method to ascertain which choice is the correct one.
I seldom go to church, so I consider myself fortunate to be there when that brilliant priest imparted advice that went like this:
In most important crossroads in life, we face two options. One of them is usually the easy way out, and the other the hard one. Although we are constantly tempted to choose the easy path, we should ask for guidance and think of which path would Jesus have chosen. The choice consistently turns out to be the most difficult, albeit the correct one.
We constantly face quagmires that either deviate us from becoming better or contribute to that goal. From the decision of eating pizza instead of grilled chicken, to getting a divorce or staying miserably married, when you listen to your gut, the choice is clear. The road to choose is the less traveled one.
It is up to you to commit to the determination, discipline and sacrifice that will push you to choose the correct alternative.
The one that will ultimately bring you the priceless joyful or peaceful reward. The accomplishment that others cannot aspire for as long as they continue to stick to the easy way out.
When deciding upon the right choice, it helps to remember Dr. Seuss’ encouraging words:
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)