How to make the big decisions

Big title.
This subject is on my mind for reasons I can't fully express..
(Not my marriage...it's better than it has been in years. A subject for another post)
I am speaking of decisions that are incredibly painful...life and death..beginnings and endings.
I speak of decisions that you know SHOULD be made..but aren't being made because someone doesn't want to make the final call.

Because doing so means bearing the weight of the outcome.  
The uncomprehending censure of strangers who have no skin in the game. 
It means being the one with dirty hands because you were the only one with the courage to put a stop to it...call an end to it..start the fight...make the tough calls..fire the person...protect the people. 
It's leadership.  

And for once I am going to give props to my abusive stepfather.
This is a tough story...if you have a sensitive soul or stomach, look away.
When I was about seven or eight...we had a beagle named jack.
He was a great dog, but he was always slipping his chain and running loose...(back in those days...dogs were outside. Period). Well, on this particular day, we were running with jack in the yard...and he went too far..and ran into the road.  Where he was struck by a truck.  
It had crushed his back end and his insides were outside...but being a child..I didn't know that wasn't fixable..I ran inside to get Duane.  He came out and knelt next to that dog and petted him..the dog was yelping....I couldn't hear what Duane said..but he stood up and lit a cigarette and just stood there for a second.  Then he turned and walked back toward the house..all three of us kids started crying, asking..."aren't you going to help?! " 
And I will never forget this, he pointed and said.."GET IN THE HOUSE." 

He said it twice..so we started back for the house, and when we got there, he was coming out with his rifle.  I turned around on the porch..and Duane went up to jack, petted him one last time and then shot him in the head. 
I was so horrified. 
I just stood there...and it was only something I can understand now, as an adult. 

The nearest vet was 40 miles away.  

That dog was suffering. 

 And someone had to fix it.  

Not every decision in life is like that.
But when it is, someone has to take the lead...take the heat.

When everyone knows that something needs to done, but no one does it...there is a decision being made.
Duane could have scraped that dog off the pavement, knowing there was no hope..
to look like the good guy. 
To save himself from having to shoot his favorite (and it was his favorite) hunting dog.
He could have allowed that dog the indignity of a slow, agonising death over forty miles of washboard country roads.  
The dog no doubt dying somewhere along the way.  
That would have been easier.
When there is a painful decision to be made, very often we decide by not deciding.  
It's a strategy that can delay pain, but usually someone has to pay...
for a woman in an abusive relationship..it could be her children...
For a woman who finds a lump in her breast but, puts off seeing the doctor...it is both her, and her family...
for an accountant who sees fraud but doesn't report it, retirees are stripped of their retirement...
for the relatives of the mentally unstable, or drug abusers..
the lack of confrontation can lead to an over dose.  
Or in the case of Adam Lanza..the death of twenty children.  

and for a man and his dog, it's a creature who is unable to ease its own suffering..made to linger and die.

We need more courageous leaders.  
We need more people willing to stand up and take the heat.
Lately I have noticed my deferral...I have been putting off switching jobs.
My original intent was to get enough experience to work at a bank. 
I would rather work with women who are extricating themselves and their children from abusive situations. 
I would like to work for tessa. 
In an administrative assistant capacity.  
I would like to do the nuts and bolts work of referring services, helping these women help themselves.
I would also like to resume my training and teach self defense. 
Neither of which are possible should I continue full time in my current position. 
So I am beginning to learn some skills that I will need to get the job I desire...I need to learn excel, word, and business writing.
  I will disappoint some people when I choose to move on, but it's better than disappointing myself.
Don't decide by not deciding.
Don't drift to the end of your life unfulfilled because of fear of failure, or incurring the displeasure of people who will not even remember your name in five years.

You only have one life with which to make an impact. I don't plan to spend one minute more than is necessary doing something I merely tolerate...when I could be doing something I love.

Chris out.


Robin said...

We've all been guilty of deciding by not deciding. It's a passive way to live. You do it long enough and you no longer feel like you're the one making the choices in your life. Instead other people are deciding it. Not a good feeling.

As I read the end of this post (and your new goals), I couldn't help but think of how far you've come. Ever since you saw yourself in that Build-A-Bear it's been one step at a time. So many one steps that the woman in that store wouldn't recognize the woman you are today.

If there is anyone who is capable of doing what other people are afraid of doing... it's you. I'm not betting against you. Get the skills you need and go after the job you want. I have faith in you.

Weighing Well said...

This has been a constant discussion between my husband and myself the last few months. His mom was very sick and almost died and we watched her languish away in ICU for two months and all the family seemed content to let this drag on. I however was raised much differently, like you, I saw life through the lense of tough, courageous acts that defined how I would rather take action than to let a situation drag and diminish. Not deciding to do something is a decision just the same - you said it so well. I am so very proud of you and the amazing transformation you have made inside and out. The tone of your writing is so real and strong and true. I know you will work this out and get your bearings. You are one tough lady! Sic em!