Friday, June 7, 2013

Forks in the Road

"The Road Less Travelled"
"The Winding Road"
"The Narrow Path"

These, and many more, are terms used to describe the 'Road / Path of Life'.  They reference taking chances and making your own way. While important themes, rarely is referenced the fact that most people don't stay on the same road for very long.

Throughout your life, you come to points where you have to make a hard decision.  I'm not talking about cutting your hair or even changing jobs, but decisions that affect the fabric of who you are intimately.  Sometimes it involves having a confrontation or intervention with a family member to address an issue that affects everyone.  Perhaps you decide to give up a habit or make a life change that will make you healthier / unhealthier, but will certainly change your attitude and personality.  It can be something like choosing a certain group of friends and not making the effort to keep or include others at a pivotal development point.  Regardless of the situation, the choice is something irrevocable.  There's no going back to the way things are - no matter how hard you try to undo the choice.  Even if it's a mistake that you later make right, it does not erase the happenings in between.

Those moments are forks in the road.  They are rarely planned and, if made in haste or poor judgement, can turn you from a future you currently desire.  Which leaves you trying to get back on track or adjusting your plans.

I have recently had a number of these moments, mostly positive, occur in my life.  However in the past week or two, I've had one situation that has become more prominent every day that is decidedly negative.  Someone I have considered a friend for over half my life has taken advantage of a family member.  The actions were over time and not malicious, but instead careless and self-centered, but the damage is the same.  Because I was not directly involved, initially I stayed out of things, but recently the situation became something I could no longer ignore.

I have cried and grieved over the confrontation I feel I must have with this person.  I feel certain it will mean the end of a relationship I have valued for a very long time, but ultimately - I can't be ok with calling someone friend who would disrespect me and my family by behaving so callously.  The Christian in me keeps saying, "Perhaps this is their valley and they need the support and love more than the condemnation."  How, in that case, do I reconcile it with my love and support of my family?

I'm still working on the way forward, but I look around and think, "Wouldn't it be nice if someone addressed moments like these and gave you a quick quip to tell you what to do?"  There is no doubt that this will change me and my view on friendships going forward, not to mention my raising of children and what I teach them going forward.  I am risking the removal of part of my support system that has been with me for a long time.  Until recently, that relationship was a balanced give and take where we emotionally and mentally were there for one another.  All life experiences impact us - but making the right decision in these situations can be challenging.  Knowing the outcome will be painful adds a special stress to the situation.

As I go forward I think about my father and all the advice he's ever given me.   The one that sticks out with me the most right now is, "Doing the right thing and the easy thing are not the same thing.  Doing the right thing will never lead you astray." 

Now I just have to figure out what exactly that is...

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