What Is Your Life Battle Choice?
By: Laura D. Field
Often I am reminded of where I have been and whom I have become as a person in life based on the choices I have made. I have definitely traveled an interesting road, in which I am still traveling. I’m definitely not immune to pain, disease and heartache, and yet I have joy. I am one who believes in the ability to overcome the obstacles in life in a manner, which is not only healing to oneself, but also a blessing to others.
In reading the following story, one is able to reflect and realize that who we are as an individual is not only a result of our genetic DNA, family culture and life circumstances, but it is in fact a personal choice in choosing to become better than what we are perceived to be:
“One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a debate that goes on inside people. He said, ‘my son, the battle between two wolves is inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. ’ The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed’.”
There are many who have a history of abuse, which in all honesty affects our confidence that can grow into bitterness and anger. Choosing to forgive (not an easy task) allows one to experience genuine peace, which allows love to flourish within and share with others through our words and actions.
Some are burdened with a lifelong illness of their own, their child or other loved one. I’ve had friends and family lose their young children, leaving a huge gaping hole in their heart. The heartbreak of losing ones spouse after years of affection, can create a void filled with emptiness. These are only a few examples of circumstances that simply occur for no cause of their own, and not as a punishment from God. And despite how difficult the journey they face, the choice to seek and find some value in their experience, allows a person (family) to move on.
In the above story, the “evil” is that of choosing to be a victim. Choosing to be self-indulgent without regard to those around us. Anger from pain breeds’ bitterness, which if allowed, results in resentment, self-pity and jealousy. I’m not saying that we should never be angry, but it has its place and it should be short lived and hopefully with a forgiving heart.
How does one, who has experienced abuse, trauma, loss, disease, etc., move forward in a life filled with “good”? When it is easier to be angry, to hate what we do not understand, how does one effectively move past the pain in order to find the joy that still flickers within?
The battle for the “good” wolf to win in life is a choice, and sometimes a very difficult one at most, with hard work to heal. Overcoming the challenges in life means a reflective view on how we want to continue to live our lives.
Is it easy to find joy in hearing you have a disease that you might not survive? No, it takes work as you seek alternative avenues in which you can bless others through your trial.
Is it easy to have peace within you, when your infant dies in their sleep, or is born without a heart beat? No, it tears your heart into a million pieces, and yet, when the hurt and anger have the opportunity heal, you find a method to cope. You discover the gift of empathy for others. It does not mean the pain of loss leaves completely, but rather the pain is transformed into a force that is more a blessing to others as well as yourself, which allows your heart to grow again.
For those who have suffered abuse, the choice to move past the stereotyped “circle of life” of ongoing abuse, is a hard journey. It means acknowledging the pain, allowing yourself to be angry yet at the same time finding a way to forgive, and the hardest part, seeking forgiveness for the bitterness you suffered. It also means retraining what you were taught in order to NOT replicate the negative treatment. Doesn’t seem fair does it?
In life, nothing is fair, more so when we only see what we feel we “deserve” vs. what we make of what we are given.
In all transparency, there have been days where I have complained in anger to God. I am quickly humbled as tears roll down my face, when I recognize that my situation is so small in comparison to what I could be facing. Despite how overwhelmed we might feel at times, there are others who are overcoming obstacles in ways that can reduce a proud man to humbled shame.
The reason the “good” wolf wins, is because they have sought effective measures to re-direct their energy towards what will provide a kind and giving heart to others along their path, yet at the same time learn from their experiences in order to be generous with love, kindness, and compassion.
My journey in life is not yet over, as I have not reached the peak mountaintop of where I am destined to travel. I might face more challenges, but I expect that with faith and determination, the journey will provide the completed circle of a transformed life filled with passion and love, with no regrets. My hope, that when my journey is complete, is that I leave a legacy for my daughters that in their own lives will continue on. To be authentic in who they are, to discern and give wisely from their heart, and to passionately live life to the fullest, with laughter and joy.
As you take time to reflect, may your choices make a difference not only for yourself, but also a blessing for others.