For me, right now, it’s all about looking forward and considering how choices I made in the past that caused me pain can be kept from repeating themselves. I’m interested in moving forward, but feel trapped by my past. Specifically I worry about choosing another husband. I do not want to go through what I have been through previously. I had 2 men in my life whose poor choices caused me to suffer.
And I hereby proclaim that I am too old for suffering. I won’t have any more of it. At least not that type… since I can so accurately pinpoint its origins to two poor choices on my part, right? And so I have been analyzing most thoroughly those two rather significant choices and what it was I did wrong that caused me to hurt so much. There are so many questions.What signs did I miss? What whisperings of the spirit did I not pay attention to? What did I do wrong that caused this and how can I avoid it in the future?
Okay, now before I go on, there are few things you need to understand foundationally about the way I believe things work.
- I think our ability to choose is one of the most important things God gave to us. It is the key to his plan of bringing happiness and salvation to all people. We get to choose. He will not force anyone.
- Even more importantly, we are responsible only for our own choices. We must own what we choose. But we do not have to own what others choose, even when they are as close to us and their future is as intertwined with ours as a spouse. We are not responsible for their choices.
- I think God knows us. He knows what choices we are most likely to make, and can see then end from the beginning. He knew Paul would do what he did, that Dave would be what he was. He also knows me and how I would most likely react to these situations.
- I think that pain and suffering is, unfortunately, the only way we grow and learn. A great quote, “It is when we are at our lowest point that we are open to the greatest change”. Therefore, trials and tribulation are an absolute necessity in this life if we are going to become anything or anyone of consequence or value.
- Back to the potential thing; since God knows what we CAN become, He also knows what experiences it will take for us to change those parts of ourselves that we need to in order to become that. Does that make sense? It’s like a master sculptor who sees a block of granite and knows instinctively what work of art is hiding in that gray, hard mass. And since he knows what he is creating, he knows where to chip, where to cut, where to carve, where to sand… It’s the same with us. If we permit it, he will sculpt us. It will hurt, but it will be worth it if we let Him bring out the masterpiece in each of us.
Summary: God knows us. He loved us enough to allow us (ALL of us) the freedom to make choices. Since he knows what we can become, he allows trials and tribulations to be part of our lives and we experience pain and suffering as a result. None of like to feel pain and when we define an experience as painful, we will do whatever we can to avoid having that same or a similar experience again.
Okay…so now we’re are all on the same page.
So I keep wandering what choices I need to make differently next time in order to avoid pain. Because obviously, if I experienced pain, I made a bad choice…right?
Actually, for the first time pretty much in the last 15 years I can say this with some kind of conviction.
What? What is that you say? But you CHOOSE to marry two people who ultimately made bad choices. You could have avoided that pain and suffering if you would have been wiser and made a different choice for yourself!
Well consider this… when my grandparents got married in 1951, I’m pretty sure God already knew that my grandfather would die at the age of 53. That death and the illness that came before it caused a lot of pain and suffering for my grandparents…for our family. My grandmother has been alone for 26 years. It’s hard. So, since God knew that this relationships would cause suffering, my grandmother should have listened to the spirit closer and made a different choice that would cause her less suffering.
Our answer would be… of course not! Why not? Because the choice to get cancer and ultimately die had nothing to do with my grandfather’s freedom to choose. It just happened.
So why is that type of suffering more acceptable and we own the pain of it far less then suffering brought on by the choices of others? Isn’t pain always pain, and suffering always suffering regardless of the source? If the pain we suffer is as a result of someone else’s choices while they exercise their agency…somehow we the sufferers should have known better and it becomes our poor choice.
Because someone exercised their freedom to choose, we should have been warned. If we subjected ourselves to that, it obviously means we simply weren’t listening. The fault for the suffering becomes ours.
No one, not a soul, blamed my grandmother for her suffering (which no one should). But if the idea was to avoid suffering, shouldn’t she also have been warned and perhaps have made a different choice?
So as I was processing these thoughts, something rather revolutionary occurred to me.
I didn’t make bad choices. I can honestly say I felt right about making those choices. They seemed right for me at that time even though they ultimately led to suffering. This particular suffering looked like the garden variety of abuse and living with a person who was mentally unstable. But it could have looked differently. It could have been suffering brought on by illness or other factors. But it wasn’t.
And do you want to know why? Because those specific experiences are what I needed to be sculpted properly. Because of those trials, I have a rather extensive list of things that I am, things I know and things I understand because of them.
By saying I should have been wiser and made better choices and that those choices were the direct result of my suffering says two things. First, that I am somehow owning the choices made by that person (that somehow my involvement made them do what they did). This is ridiculous. I did not make either or those men do what they did. And second, that all of the good that came from that, had no purpose or meaning and those lessons and that growth were an accident.
I don’t believe either of those. But I do believe this. If I stay as close the spirit as possible and focus on my personal righteousness…I will make the choice that will be for my ultimate good. And I will be responsible for that choice only and no one else's.