Friday, February 27, 2009

friday five: forks in the road

At Revgals Singing Owl writes: I am at a life-changing juncture. I do not know which way I will go, but I have been thinking about the times, people and events that changed my life (for good or ill) in significant ways. For today's Friday Five, share with us five "fork-in-the-road" events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road?

Here are some decisions that changed my life.

1) Choosing Scotland over nursing. This really boils down to which college I chose. Growing up I was fascinated by things medical. This may have been due in part to the fact that my father was a doctor, but I think the interest goes deeper than that. I lacked the ambition to be a doctor, but nursing sounded like it might be a good fit. That was until I nearly flunked chemistry in high school! Still, I pursued nursing as a vocation when applying to college. Except for one. Earlham College, a small, Quaker liberal-arts school in Richmond, Indiana, had two things going for it. I had friends attending there, and they had a foreign study program in Scotland. In the end, the latter had greater draw than nursing. Scotland has been something of a "pole star" in my life. It is the place where my soul feels most at home. It led me to a passion for Scottish country dancing, which in turn led to friendships and experiences that were/are rich, and I continue to savor.

2) A spiritual renewal. Insomuch that we choose things that happen to us, I point to an experience of spiritual renewal as the moment (and yes, it was a moment) that changed my life. God broke through layers of silence and plunged into my soul, grabbing hold of me in a way that led, ultimately, to discerning a call to priesthood. Color this non-sacramental Quaker girl surprised! And yet it all made sense.

3) The decision to marry (the first time). I was 45, and this was a long-awaited dream come true. It was magical and adventurous and the manner in which it all unfolded was, for me, outside the box. Choosing to marry a man who lived in another state meant closing down shop where I lived. Sold my house. Resigned my position. I was packed and getting ready to move when it became clear that the marriage would be a mistake. 4) The decision not to marry. Oh, the consequences! See number three above. There were, of course, family and friends who already had plane tickets, deposits had been paid, the dress hung in my closet... But for me there was no place to live, no job… I was homeless for three weeks, the dogs were boarded, and the kindness of friends and the company of their cat kept me sheltered, fed and comforted. I was unemployed for 13 months, a period of time that served as a crucible for debt, doubt, and desperation.

5) The decision to marry. This was a good choice, and nearly three years later I am still adjusting. There is too much to say about how much marriage alters one's life. I am grateful to have a husband with whom I can be myself (even when it annoys him), and a life together in which we both desire the best for each other, and seek to help the other reach our personal and collective goals. We have our trials, and we have the grace that our love for each other runs deep and sustains us when the terrain is challenging.

12 comments:

Mrs. M said...

I'm always so proud of people who make the courageous choice to listen to their gut and not get married. It can be such a brave, wise thing to do.

DogBlogger said...

Would that many more people had the kind of courage to call it off when it needed calling off....

Love the wedding photo!

imngrace said...

Oh bravo! I hear you on the courage it takes to marry and not marry. Good for you!

Singing Owl said...

WOW! That was courageous--and must have been incredibly difficult. Especially since you likely thought that you would probably never find "Mr. Right." Just guessing!

Auntie Knickers said...

Wow, a great bunch of forks! I have also felt a connection to Scotland since childhood although I haven't done much about it (and my Scottish dancing days would be over if I'd had any!) I haven't read your blog before but will do so now. Thanks.

Shalom said...

Such a great play. Thanks for sharing.

RevDrKate said...

Wonderful play. Great courage to follow your convictions.

Jan said...

This was so interesting. You are a brave woman, one who lives with integrity. Some difficult choices. I am intrigued by the Quaker school and going to Scotland.

Barbara B. said...

I agree with everyone here -- great courage!

RevSis said...

I read your post before I wrote mine...you gave me the courage to bring up my fifth and most painful fork. What is it about our 40s that brings such traumatic growth?!!

Thank you for your courage and your kindness. I love the wedding photo you included -- your happiness and your strength shine through!

Jennifer said...

Great courage, great play!

Jayne said...

I am smiling so broadly. Just look at all the new friends here. What a wonderful sharing of those monumental times in your life. I am so happy for you my friend... more than you know. So happy. :c)

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