The quality of your decisions determines the quality of your life.
~ Edith Eva Eger, Phd.
Life is about decisions.
I have to make a lot of big decisions right now. I don’t want to, but I have to. They will affect a lot of people. I will be responsible.
I hate responsibility.
But not making decisions means leaving them to someone else, someone who doesn’t care as much as I do. That means they would make decisions that benefit them. I can’t have that. I love the people involved.
I love, so I must decide.
Love is a decision. I know, that’s not the way the average song lyric would say it. The songwriter would say, in more and prettier words, love is a feeling. You fall into it and out of it. You have no control over it. None of this is true.
Yes, romantic love involves feelings and feelings come and go. For example, I doubt my wife feels great romantic love for me when I get the whiney flu. I know “whiney” isn’t a medical strain of the flu virus but it is the unfortunate result. I have no control over it. It’s how I feel.
Yes, that was a double illustration.
You see, just because I get sick doesn’t mean I have to whine. Just because my wife’s feelings of love are overshadowed by my grumpy unloveableness doesn’t mean she doesn’t love me. There are decisions involved. We have choices. I can, possibly, choose not to whine. She can, possibly, choose to love me anyway.
Love is bigger than feelings.
To consign love merely to feelings is to leave love limited to one small, vacillating part of life. Love is more than a mood.
We understand this when it comes to a mother’s love. You don’t feel warm and fuzzy feelings of love for your children when they are trying to burn the house down or refuse to go to bed. If you love your child, you have to make decisions. Unpopular decisions. Decisions that make people feel bad even if they are for the best. Decisions that make you feel bad even if they are for the best.
Romantic love is the same, no matter what the songs say. So is love for your friends and family. We get to choose. Feelings are just a part of it. And sometimes the most loving thing to do feels bad.
It’s like getting up for work. It doesn’t feel good but if you don’t do it then you lose something. This affects your loved ones in very unloving ways. So, you get up.
Loving decisions are hard.
Those are the kind of decisions I have to make. I can’t tell the details because it would be unloving to share the details of someone else’s life. I don’t mean to make a mystery here. Don’t worry, we’re okay.
You know the kind of decisions I mean. You have to make them regularly. Life decisions.
How I decide.
There are too many options. None of them are perfect. Too many of them entail difficulties.
So, I pray. I believe. I consider options. I ask very select opinions.
At the end of the day there will still be too many options and too many unintended consequences and too many doubts. At some point, in the middle of all of this confusion, I just have to decide.
It’s better than not deciding. It’s better than leaving decisions to someone who has no love for those involved. It’s a fuzzy situation.
But in the end, I’ll do it, doubts and all.
It’s the only loving thing to do.
“I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!”
― Mark Twain
“So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Photo by Sean Hickin via Flickr