Posts Tagged With: Sacrifice

What We Choose and What We Give Up

Ten thoughts by other people with no commentary by me. Make of them what you will.

Alice par John Tenniel 31

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.

‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.

‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.

‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” ~ Lewis Carroll

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“Find a purpose to serve, not a lifestyle to live.” ~ Criss Jami

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“Every man gives his life for what he believes … one life is all we have to live and we live it according to what we believe.” ~Joan of Arc

Thou Mayest

Thou Mayest (Photo credit: danbruell)

“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.” ~ John Steinbeck in East of Eden

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Megiddo altar_0670

Megiddo altar.  (Photo credit: hoyasmeg)

“Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to.” ~ Mitch Albom

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” ~Shauna Niequist

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Lucy in the Sky

Lucy in the Sky (Photo credit: gritphilm)

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” ~ Charles M Schulz

Hogwarts coat of arms

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ J.K. Rowling

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Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Your Face

I took a racquet in the face once playing racquetball.

I’m really unclear about who was in the court with me at the time. And I’m even more unclear about who held the racquet that split the skin open above my lip.

It doesn’t matter actually.

Seems like I was going for a great shot and bam. Game over. It was like a wall popped up in front of me mid-swing. It felt way worse than a ball to the face, which I’d experienced often enough since we weren’t stellar players. I don’ remember pain as much as shock and confusion. Seems I wanted to keep playing until the other players pointed out I was bleeding and probably needed stitches.

I was mostly disappointed that we didn’t get to finish our game. And I didn’t get any stitches. The doc superglued the thing closed. It looked gross. For a week I looked like I had a perpetual little kid style runny nose.

I’d have preferred the stitches.

I don’t really notice the scar much. It’s fairly light and thin. Almost invisible, actually.

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We had a group of women that got together about three days a week. We’d play singles if only two showed up, or singles if there were two courts open and four of us. Cut-throat was my favorite for all the changing up that happens. Four of us piled in that tiny enclosed space got fairly rowdy. But we managed to get a good workout and have a bunch of fun no matter how many of us there were.

Yeah, we weren’t amazing players, but we weren’t all that shabby either. At least one of us would be “in the zone” on any given day. Occasionally we’d all hit our stride and balls would zing about for long volleys, amazing shots and incredible saves. Those rare days, when everything was working, made it tough to want to leave after only an hour of play. But if we stayed much longer, we’d be paying for it the rest of the day.

We had to know when to say enough. Sometimes the clock told us. Sometimes our sore muscles let us know we’d reached our limit. And sometimes, we just didn’t care and kept playing far too long and paid for it later. But we sure had us some great times bashing that ball around.

Racquetball lets loose a ton of pent-up aggravation, emotion, and insanity. We left the gym better women, better prepared for whatever the heck the day threw our way.

Sweat never felt or smelled so sweet as on racquetball playing days.

We welcomed any and all who wanted to join in our group. We met some great people that way. I’m afraid I scared off one friend, quite unintentionally. I must have hit her in the head about four times with some really poorly aimed shots. By the fourth hit she was done and never came back again. Not sure she’s ever forgiven me. I swear it was completely and totally just me playing badly. I couldn’t hit the same spot twice even if I was aiming for it. I’m hoping one day she’ll get a chance to ding me with a ball or maybe a few water balloons so she can feel like the score is even and we can move on. Or not.

So why do I bring all this up?

I LOVE playing racquetball!

And yet, my racquet’s acquired a few years of dust. That’s a huge loss.

Why’d I stop?

Schedules change, injuries and age take their toll, life demands new things of us, we have to give something up to make the puzzle pieces all fit.

Sometimes the best things, the most helpful, the happiest, end up being sacrificed for other good and helpful things. Good reasons don’t make it any easier though.

I look in the mirror sometimes and see that thin light scar above my lip. It feels like a participation medal, or better yet, a blue ribbon or a golden winner’s cup.

Maybe it needs to be a reminder of something I need again. No, not a racquet to the face. I need that hour of sweating. I need to hit something with everything I’ve got. I need the energy I get back from pushing myself hard.

Can I work that back into my life?

I have plenty of excuses, most of them having to do with body parts and pain. Maybe it’s time to ignore the shoulder devil and do it anyway.

After all, what could it hurt?

Well, I suppose it could hurt my face again.

But it would be worth it.

Categories: Exercise, Fun, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Twenty Years From Now: A Letter to Myself

Dear Me,

I’m writing this letter to you today to let you know how far you have come in the past twenty years.  I know at this point in your life you’ll be looking back and flailing yourself with all your perceived shortcomings, missed opportunities, poor choices and heartaches.

Knowing this about you, I’m writing to remind you that you made two decisions that impacted your life and have made you the person you are. I’m certain you haven’t forgotten those decisions, because they shaped you in ways no other choices could have done.  To clarify and to help you feel better about where you’re at right now, I’m writing to remind you that these were your conscious choices.  You knew, at least to a small degree, what direction choosing such things would require.

The sacrifices have been worth it.  Whatever fell to the sidelines, whatever was left undone was as it needed to be.  It was part of the design you set for yourself when you put your feet on this path you now find yourself on.

The first decision you made was to choose people over things.

One of my favorite people!

Do you remember when you made that decision?  Probably not, it was a process, not a one-time thing.  You had found, through helping a few people along the way, in spite of how busy you were as a young mom, as a mom with teens, as a working mom, that reaching out and helping someone, even at the cost of something you wanted, was always the better choice.  The relief on another’s face was a balm in your own wounds.  The joy in a child’s eyes reflected back into your eyes.  The time sacrificed, again and again, always felt like the best expenditure of that time.

You were honest with yourself about the sacrifices that decision required.  Sometimes they hurt.  Sometimes giving was the last thing you wanted to do, but it had become who you were.  The tricky part, do you remember, was finding that tipping point when it was time to regroup, fill your bucket, shore up your own reserves, care for your tender worn spots, so that you could once again care for others.

That balance was not an easy thing to maintain.  The pendulum often swung wide to either side, excessive  giving to others, or a kind of self-indulgent, inward cocooning.  But you have worked at achieving a rhythm to your giving, your sharing, your service, and your self-care.  Now you can look back on your life of generosity and selflessness.  You should feel a sense of, not pride, no, not that, but of integrity.  You stuck to your decision to choose people first.

The other life decision you made seemed almost contradictory to the first one.  But, by time you read this letter, you will have made the two into proper companions, a perfect marriage of ideals. This decision, too, required sacrifices.  You set aside a sense of security and safety for a life of openness and sharing and of uncertainty.

the written word

the written word (Photo credit: paloetic)

You chose words.

That was a very deliberate decision on a very specific day.  You decided to honor that spark of creativity, intelligence and joy that burned so bright from your early childhood.

You chose to be the writer you wanted to be.  You chose words as your paint, words as your clay, words as your film, words as your musical notes.  Words gave life to all you saw, thought, felt, and experienced. Then you shared those precious words in as many ways as you could think of.

The people you loved will have known to their very bones, that you loved them.  You will have shown it, you will have said it.

Actions and words showed the world and yourself who you are and were.  Feel secure and sure in the way you have used your life.  It was well spent.

Regrets?  You probably have many.  But not about these two decisions.

People.

Words.

The best choices you ever made.

All my love,

Me

Categories: Relationships, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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