Friday, May 29, 2015

How to Make a Decision

I can no longer recall what the decision was that I had to make, if in the end it went right or wrong. I can't remember how old I was when my mother told me what her mother would advise. The only thing I can tell you is that from the moment I heard this, I have tried to live with it. I have shared it with friends...even did so a few days ago.

It goes like this - words of wisdom from my mother's mother, my grandmother, who passed away when I was 5 years old. I remember her a tiny bit and still have the teddy bear she gave to my sister (I had mine until we moved to Israel and in a game of toss back and forth, one of my sons accidentally tossed the teddy bear high into the air to land on the light bulb. When they saw smoke, they screamed out for me and somehow I had the presence of mind to shut the light and remove the smoking and burned bear.

My sons knew that what they did was wrong, that they had played with something that was precious to me and that I did not let them touch. I was their mother...but this was my teddy bear.

And I learned something about myself that day - in my deepest pain and anger, I don't scream out...I go silent. I looked at the burned bear in my hands; I looked at my sons and very calmly and quietly asked them to go back to their room. They appeared to be shocked that I didn't yell at them and seemed to feel worse for that. I cried for my burned bear and later on, when I told my mother, my sister offered me hers. Mine was named, "Yellow Paws" for obvious reasons. Hers was called (or at least I called it) "Flat Face" also for obvious reasons. I still have Flat Face...fact is, I think I still have Yellow Paws...who sadly looks more like a raccoon than a teddy bear...but I digress...a lot.

So, my grandmother's to make a decision...more, how to live with one.

I have a decision to make...well, many in my life, but one that just popped up. I am going back and forth, asking advice...thinking, debating...but ultimately, I'm going to follow my grandmother's advice and offer it here.

When you have one of two paths to take...choose one. It honestly doesn't matter which one. Don't agonize. Go with it. 100% and without hesitation - for 24 hours let yourself believe this is what you are going to do. How do you feel about it? Stop...don't agonize. Now, flip the decision around...and live with the idea for 24 hours that you are going to go with that way - 100% and without hesitation. You are going to do the opposite of what you were previously so sure you were going to do before.

One will feel right; one will feel wrong. You will know, goes the theory, that you don't want to give that thing up or that you really don't want it nearly as much as you thought. Live with it, live without it. And then, reach inside yourself and see which one felt right. Which path, which decision was the one you just couldn't see yourself doing (or not doing)?

I'm breaking the rule myself right now. Having decided to live with a decision, I'm still uncertain which one to live with first. I'll get there...I hope.

A friend suggested that I make the decision before Shabbat comes and not linger with it and let it distract me. I'm not sure I can do that - it's a big decision to make, a hard one no matter what I choose. Usually, we hope, there is a right decision and a wrong one and the biggest challenge is to choose between them. Often, we even know which is right but wrong seems so much easier.

What happens when both decisions are wrong...or right for that matter? What happens when what is best for you is also the thing that is worst for you?

Can you say you'll never do something and then contemplate doing it? Can you go where you knew you'd never go? Do what you believed you'd never do? Can you betray one part of your soul to feed another part?

A decision...

I can argue this up the wall and across the ceiling. I can convince everyone that either side is right...or wrong. The only one I can't convince is myself.

May God bless the memory of Mina Leah bat Morris (not Hebrew but that's what we know).

No comments:

Copyright Statement

Everything on this site is protected and copyrighted according to Israeli and international laws. Violators WILL be prosecuted.

For permission to use pictures or text from this site, please write to: