Saturday, March 8, 2008


Saturday morning dawns bright and shiny. For some, this day will be the best day of their lives yet. For others, it will be a continuation of the pain and sorrow of the past.

It is all in our choices.

Unfortunately, sometimes we can get so lost we don't see that we have a choice to take a different path.

On Thursday, I sat in on a talk a client of the shelter where I work gave to a group of Grade 9 students. She's 37. Looks 25 -- very unusual for someone who has lived the rough and rumble life of the street. Mostly, the street ages you 10 to 15 years. For this woman, let's call her Carrie, the street has been a place of 'safety' since she was 12 and ran away from alcoholic parents.

Now, one of the challenges with hearing the stories of those whose lives have wandered so far from home is being able to hear the larger story without looking for truth in every detail.

It is a common occurrence -- lying. As Carrie said in her talk, "You have to know who I am. I'm a drug addict. A liar. A thief. A cheat. It's who I am."

For Carrie, one of the biggest challenges is to acknowledge the truth that who she says she is today, is not who she has to be forever. Claiming her magnificent self will be a journey of discovery -- should she be willing to take it.

Carrie told the students that she hasn't used a needle in two and a half months. "That's big," she said. "I used crack two weeks ago," she paused and laughed. "Actually, I used yesterday but it was the first time in two weeks. I gotta get straight. I gotta see my kids again. They're 8 and 12 and I haven't seen them in five years."

"Why not?" asked one of the students. "Don't you love them?"

Carrie pressed her lips together. She jerked her head quickly, her chin dropping towards her left shoulder, her eyes closed. I wondered if she wanted to strike something as I watched her fists clench and unclench by her sides.

She took a breath. "Yeah. I love them. Have always loved drugs and getting high more so social services took them from me. They deserve better than me." She paused. "But I'd sure like to see them again."

At 12 years of age, Carrie ran to the street. Not much of a choice for a child. Her choices since then have been predicated upon the life that has been sucking her dry since her first trick, her first high, her first fall from grace.

Carrie wants to change her choices. She wants to make better choices but first, she has to learn that she has the choice to choose getting high over getting straight.

"I'm grateful to be able to come in here and talk to you kids," Carrie told the group. "Cause I know I've done something good today, I know I won't get high today. That's good. I'm making a different choice."

Some of the choices I have to make are not as big as Carrie's. They're not as life defining, but still they impact whether I have the best day of my life yet, or a day just like another.

For today, I choose to make choices that celebrate me. I choose life filled with joy, embracing all I'm meant to be, beauty, warts and all.

The question is: What about you? Do you choose to celebrate you for all you're worth?


Anonymous said...

Sometimes making choices is not easy, especially if what you have known is not positive.

You tend to lean towards continuing on a path that may not be a positive choice, but because it is what you have known, it is somewhat a comfortable choice for you.

Stepping outside of that comfort zone is sometimes too difficult for someone to make, if there is not a feeling of a good support system on the other side.

Gathering a support system that you feel can be trusted is the key ingredient to making changes, therefore leading to different choices.

Trust can be a difficult ingredient is what you have known has been that trust can be broken easily...therefore leading to more pain and choices that do not make for positive change.

It takes a huge leap of faith, and a giant risk, to reach out again, after trying and getting the feeling of being let down. Sometimes taking that risk again, might just be too much....then again, maybe, just maybe ...there might be a small light at the end of the tunnel....

Getting outside of your comfort zone is a tough matter what your comfort zone is...making change, when you don't have a good track record is hard....especially when you have tried, almost made it , and then again, lost your footing.

M.L. Gallagher said...

So very true -- trust is an integral ingredient of the choices we make.

If we learn at a young age that the world 'out there' is not a trusting place, we never learn to trust the world within ourselves. Without trust, our choices are based on fear.

-- thanks for all your comments -- very powerful thoughts. I love the idea of my purpose for today being to find moments of peace.