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There are times in life when we all face things that break our hearts. All we have to do is watch the news or scroll through our newsfeed on Facebook to see that the world is hurting. If I spend too much time dwelling on these kinds of things, my heart just can’t take it, in fact.
So many of the things that break our hearts are beyond our control, but what if we are the ones who break our own heart? What do we do when making the “right” choice, leaves our heart heavy, burdened, or broken?
I write this with a bit of reluctance because this has happened to me recently. As in the less than 24 hours ago kind of recent past.
First, let me throw some numbers at you:
5,220…this is the number of days that I have been a mother to my living children.
1788.5…this is the number of days that I have spent pregnant with my living children out of those days.
7,210…this is the number of days that I have been married (we will celebrate 20 years this fall).
0…this is the number of days that I have spent being off duty, meaning, that I have never been away for the night or longer than maybe 10 hours on the rare occasion. My husband and I have never left for an overnight, a weekend, or a vacation of any kind. I consider my time in the hospital having a baby to be my “vacation.” If I’m being honest, I would also tell you that I take my computer with me to the hospital and also WORK while I am there.
I share all this to give you some perspective on what I am about to tell you.
I think it greatly has to do with my husband being in school full-time while working full-time and being in the nursing program right now combined with just the day in and day out stress of life that I am feeling that big, fat zero. I am feeling the fact that I have not had a day off as a mom. Ever.
Combine that with the fact that my husband actually has a three week break next month coupled with our 20 year anniversary this fall, and I am ready to actually take a vacation.
Mind you, we can’t really afford a vacation. Remember how I am so diligent in saying no to things that would be wonderful, but are not wise? But, since I am really feeling like we NEED this vacation, just the two of us, I started looking into some vacation options for my husband and I next month.
I was able to use some air miles that we have been saving since we got our credit card in 1994 and never cashed anything in (!) and found a reasonably priced vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. I found people who are willing to take our kids and I started contacting people from his work to see if they could help me cover his shifts at work because my plan was to surprise him with this trip at the last minute.
But, things became too complicated so I had to tell him about my plan before I actually paid for the tickets, I just had everything reserved.
I was so excited to tell him, but to say that his response was a let down is an understatement.
I laid everything out, and since my husband is the spender in our family, I knew I would face no opposition since I listen to this man tell me how he needs a vacation at least every other week.
And then I told him.
“I don’t want to go without the kids.”
I made him repeat it. A couple of times.
I explained my need to get away from the kids…I love them dearly, but after 5,220 days, I am ready for a day off.
He still felt strongly that we were not to go without the kids.
Taking them is simply not an option from a financial standpoint. In fact, if money were no object I would love to take them as I am sure I could find the time away that my soul needs while having FUN with my kids. We are ALL ready for a break from this crazy lifestyle with work and school that we have been living over the past two years that our husband and dad has been in school.
I sought the advice of women I respect. I needed some extra minds.
He said he would go, but it wasn’t his choice at all.
I knew the right thing to do would be to explain my needs, and then defer to him. I asked him several times to be sure that this was his choice. He remained firm that it was. The godly women I respect confirmed that this was the path I should take.
I think this may be the most painful choice I have ever made. Even in just that short week, I had pictured myself on a beach, sitting on a chair in the shoreline feeling the water lapping at my feet while sipping my fruity drink with the little umbrella. My soul felt lighter. My heart was singing. I faced each new day over that week with a renewed spirit.
As I watched my reservation expire last night at midnight my heart sank and I again felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. This was not my choice, but this was the right choice.
Since he said he would go, I broke my own heart by making the choice to defer to what he wanted.
I have cried – a lot since midnight last night and I have been forced to work my way through this. Although the wounds are still fresh and I still feel the need to get away, I am moving forward.
These are the things I have found to be important in moving forward when making the right choice has left me heartbroken.
- Let go of the need to understand the why behind the right choice. You most likely know the right choice to make when faced with a tough decision and when the right choice will break your heart, just make it and leave it at that.
- Let go of the dream. Whatever “good thing” you had to let go of in order to make the right choice, just let it go. Close that door and don’t open it again. When I start seeing myself laying under a palm tree again, I just have to take control of my thoughts and remove myself from the shade of that palm tree.
- Look around you. When we are obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we are walking in obedience and aligned with God’s plan. There is no better place to be than to be walking on the path He has laid out. Look around you and see the blessings He has in store for you along this path that He has led you to walk. I will admit that I have not seen the roses along my path yet, but I do have my eyes peeled.
- Look to the future. Find something to look forward to. Focus on your light at the end of the tunnel. In so many difficult situations, looking for my light at the end of the tunnel is a powerful coping mechanism for me. This simple act couldn’t be left off this list, either.
- Look up. If you have faith, as I do, cling to your faith even tighter during this time. Spend more time in the Bible, find a book that is relevant, find music that speaks to your heart, and focus on praying for strength, healing, and peace.
Making the right choice is rarely easy, but that doesn’t change the fact that the right choice is the right choice, period. When your heart breaks as a result, let these simple, yet not so simple, things help you start putting one foot in front of the other.