The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. ~ Flora Whittemore

A lovely sentiment, but far more palpable – and even painful – when we have to live with those decisions.

I had to make a hard decision this weekend. If it only impacted me, it would be easier to bear; but it didn’t. I wasn’t just deciding the life I live, as Flora Whittemore espouses. I was deciding, at least for a time, the lives that others would live, as well. That’s a lot of pressure; pressure I wish wasn’t mine. Still, hard choices sometimes have to be made. Consequences ensue. Disappointment and frustration are inevitable.

How do I hold on to myself in the midst of making such a choice? How do I continue walking forward when my deepest desire and instinct is to turn and run for cover? I’m not sure, but at least for tonight, I’m slowed in my impulse to escape by returning to the story of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. She chose to do something that was totally against the grain and which incurred her even more contempt than she already knew. Somehow she trusted her internal wisdom enough that she could break through all that would have kept her playing things safe. She acted. She moved. She let herself be seen.

And…my hunch is that her life didn’t get all that better because of it – at least externally. She made a hard choice, knowing there would be a price to pay and consequences that would ensue. She’s a beautiful, strong, and amazing woman.

I wish I could say that my hard choice fell in the same realm as her self-sacrificing and beautifully worshipful one. Mine could hardly be said to resemble hers, at all. Still, she encourages me. And what’s more, the love she experiences because of her choice comforts me.

Maybe that’s the key: no matter the choices we make or their ramifications, we are still loved – deeply, unswervingly, unreservedly – by the Divine. I think I can live with my hard choice knowing such.

Choices come and go. Some are better than others. Some are harder than others. But being loved no matter what? That defines and decides my life in ways that offer me hope, encouragement, and rest.

I needed to make a hard choice. Even more, I believe I needed the hard choice to move me toward remembering, experiencing, and encountering the Divine who loves me before, in the midst, and after. That’s good news at the end of a long, hard day.