Choose Wisely

I wrote this a few months into my first romantic relationship in almost 20 years, my first romantic relationship with a woman, and the first romantic relationship I’d ever entered while still married to my husband. I knew from the very beginning that things might not (and probably wouldn’t) work out with this woman, and I knew I was risking everything to be with her, including (and especially) my own heart. One night, struggling through immense fear and anxiety about whether we could make it all work, I found myself asking: How could I bear to face such an uncertain future? How could I bear loving this woman, knowing that in the end I might lose her?
This was my answer to myself…

–Choose Wisely—

I have heard it said that pain is unavoidable;
If you avoid the pain of one thing, you invite the pain of something else.

I have heard it said our goals determine our results;
If you change your focus, you can change your life.

I have heard it said that anger
and fear
and grief
can be formed into the very things that nurture
and hope
and love.

I cannot know what pain may lie in store for me,
but this is what I do know:
I can determine what it will accomplish.
I can choose my suffering wisely.

I cannot know how this will end,
but this is what I do know:
I can use this relationship to bring forth what darkness lies hidden in myself
and what light lies buried within her.

I cannot see through a lens into my future,
but this is what I do know:
I can shift my focus.

Rather than seek love, I can give it.
Rather than seek comfort, I can pursue growth.
Rather than seek answers, I can ask questions:

What can I do to make her feel beautiful?
What can I do to make her feel loved?
What can I do to help her see the good in herself she might not otherwise see?
And how can I use this time to help her live a better life,
both now and in the future,
whether that future includes me or not?

From this place,
with these goals,
I lay aside my fears.

And whatever the future holds,
whatever pain may lie in store,
however, whenever this ends,
I will know my suffering served a purpose.

I will have chosen wisely.

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