At a fork in an un-known road, to bear left, right or move forward.
To give priority to one chore or another.
Send a letter to a friend, acquaintance, business associate, or wait a while.
Speak your mind and heart or remain silent.
Give a word of advice, or keep still.
Offer an opinion, or refrain.
Whether to bide for one’s self or, in an attempt to be of help to another, bide in place.

Decisions.

Rather recently, I was given a word of advice, from someone I’ve known for quite a long while, someone for whom I’d given much of my own time and energy and who advised me with caring and compassion. She is my elder, a woman of great world experience, who, like me, had deferred much of her own time and comfort, her life, for the sake of the comfort of others in many different manners. In a conversation about our years of knowing each-other she said:
“You’ve spent your life doing for others, even to the point of your own detriment. You’ve done so for me and for my family, just as you’ve done for so very many others. And when I tell you that I appreciate your kindness and concern more than I could ever express, I tell you this: I hope that, someday, you’ll learn to do for yourself as well because it’s about time you started to do so. There’s nothing wrong with doing something for yourself some times. And it’s time you at least started. You’re very keen on telling others to take care of themselves, reminding them that if they’re not good for and to themselves, they won’t be able to be of much good to or for others. Well, I’m sure that we all would agree that now, you need to take your own advice and do something good for you.

I thanked her for her advice and for the magnificent compliment she gave me, and too, for her appreciation of what-ever I’d done for her and hers. And I promised her that I would make every best effort to follow her advice, in gratitude of her direction and validation of my intentions and efforts.

Shortly after, when presented with the need to do so, I made a decision: to follow my dream and pursue the possibility of fulfilling that dream, or to “bide”, to stay for even a bit longer where I was, in order to help an other in a time of chaos and turmoil. I stayed, for what was expected to be only a short while. I deferred my ambition, believing that all would, in the end, turn out fine, that I would be of assistance, positive help, that the conflict would pass and then, in the calm that would prevail, I could continue on, move along, to my own happiness and peace.

It comes to pass that although, for the while, my aid was successful and appreciated, I forfeited, utterly and completely, my opportunity to attain my own ambition, goal and dream. As I lent all I had toward being selfless and helpful, time passed… and with it, my own chance at happiness and contentment. “The boat sailed… and as I’ve learnt, disappeared beyond the far Western horizon, the sun has set on a chance for my own happiness.” And as I compose this post, I am, with-out dramatics or exaggeration, “devastated”. As I read the information rather confirming my loss, my chest caved, my heart turned heavy as mercury, and the hope that I’d been holding so near and dear simply vanished into the cold Winter night. The words of kind, supportive advice hissed in my ears:

“I hope that, someday, you’ll learn to do for yourself as well…”

Yes, our lives are a series of decisions… and now, too late, I’ve learnt that my recent decision was quite stupid because, although someone else is now reasonably comfortable, to the point where my personal investment is simply taken for granted… the light ahead that I once aspired toward, is now nothing but darkness.

Am I angry? Resentful? No. Not really. I was in a place at a time where I was able to help when called to do so. And now that moment has passed. So too, the moment when I had the opportunity to do something, to make a move toward my own true happiness has passed. Just as fire and flood take from us, house, property, mementos, things dear and cherished with no chance of such things returning ever again, rather than bemoan the loss to no good ends, I hear, in my mind and soul, the words of support, kindness, compassion and today I heed them with serious and severe attention:

“I hope that, someday, you’ll learn to do for yourself as well…”

If ever the opportunity lost now is re-presented, in any manner, I know I’ll make yet another decision… to follow the advice of a caring friend because as of now, I know that I’m of little good to others because I feel I’m of no good to myself. .. no good what-so-ever.

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