The Next Time You Feel You’re At A Crossroads In Life, This Simple But Powerful Advice Will Help You Choose The Right Path For You
This weekend in the United States, we celebrate Father’s Day – a day to honor the fathers and father figures that have been influential and meaningful to us.
Every single one of us on the planet has something in common…
A birth mother and birth father brought us into this world.
Regardless of your relationship with your birth father, join me in giving thanks that he had a hand in giving you the precious life you’re currently living.
Whether you had a wonderful relationship with your father growing up, or it wasn’t so wonderful, or perhaps he wasn’t ever around…
You’re here in part because of him, and your existence is a joyous reality!
Today we can give thanks both for the life we are living, and for any and all positive impact our fathers, father figures and other wonderful men have made on our lives…
The encouragement, love, traditions and wisdom they’ve imparted to us.
My own father shaped my life in many ways.
But perhaps most profoundly, my father gave me invaluable wisdom regarding how to make good choices, even in the face of the most challenging circumstances.
When I was growing up, my father was a loving but stern man. Born in 1918, he served in World War II and the Korean conflict. After that, he worked in trucking and was a teamster.
As a little girl, I remember that I was slightly afraid of his sternness, even though he had a big, soft center you got to see now and then.
And for as serious as he was, in adulthood, we became good friends.
When I was in my mid-40s, I was facing a tricky situation. I was at a crossroads in life, and I didn’t know how to proceed.
I’d gotten married at a very young age as a result of becoming pregnant at age 16. After many years of marriage and nine years of couples’ therapy, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue in the relationship.
My then husband and I liked and respected each other, but we’d come to see that perhaps we weren’t a great fit as husband and wife.
At the time, no one in my family had ever gotten divorced. I knew this and was afraid of what leaving my marriage would mean to my family, but I also didn’t know how much longer I could stay.
I was afraid to talk to my dad about this…
I respected him so much that if he’d said, “You can’t get divorced. You need to sleep in the bed you made,” I would have honored that, at least at the time.
But I still felt I needed to talk to him about this crossroads I was at, so I went to him and poured my heart out, with great respect for the values he placed on commitment and marriage.
My parents had been together 60 years by that point!
I told him how I was feeling, that I was thinking of leaving, and asked for his advice, wisdom and life experience.
My father looked at me and said, “Mary, there’s only one thing you can do…”
He said, “Mary, do what gives you life. Doing anything else will make you a false person. Do it well, do it kindly, but do what gives you life.”
Hearing this, I truly felt set free, because I already knew in my heart what would give me life, and that was to leave the marriage.
Of course I wanted to end things kindly, but I also felt a wave of the freedom that would come from actually pursuing a life I truly loved living.
And that advice helped me move forward with one of the most critical decisions of my entire life, which led to a far more joyful and expansive existence for me.
Years later my youngest son Mat called me, finding himself at his own crossroads and seeking advice…
Matt was just about to graduate from college with a pre-med degree. He was well on his way to becoming a doctor.
Then one day, Mat called and said:
“I know you’ve invested so much in me to go to school and study medicine, but I just have this nudge inside of me that I don’t want to be a doctor. I want to be a teacher. I have two applications in front of me, one for medical school, and one for University of Oregon’s graduate program in teaching.”
He was at a significant juncture in his life, and he was struggling to make the decision.
He asked if I would be mad at him if he changed course entirely and dedicated his life to teaching.
I said, “Mat, there’s only one thing you can do. I’ll tell you what my dad told me when I was at a crossroads: Do what gives you life.”
And he did!
Mat became an incredible teacher which led him to be an even more incredible and difference-making author and life coach, serving hundreds of thousands of people in the world, and all because he answered his calling and chose the path that gave him life.
And now, here’s a question for you in honor of Father’s Day…
What’s something that you learned from your father or the father figures in your life?
Exploring this question may bring up warm feelings, or not-so-warm feelings, but either way, I invite you to leave your reflections in the comments below.
Whatever our experiences may be in life, by sharing them we can help others grow, and we can expand and evolve ourselves by hearing from others, too.
So go ahead and leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!