Friday, May 6, 2022

The Freedom to Choose


I came across this quote early this morning from one of my favorite authors, Henry David Thoreau: "The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it."

I woke up about 3:00 am and have struggled getting back to sleep as every current "life issue", big and small, has decided to rush in and take over my thoughts. 

The issue I can't get out of my head, at the moment, concerns a local writing critique group I visited yesterday. While I appreciated most of the feedback and genuinely enjoyed getting to know most of the members, there was one personality, in particular, that I clashed with right from the beginning.

It quickly became apparent that she and I have very different life philosophies. The trouble is that she had trouble keeping her opinions of mine to herself. Yes, I turned down a scholarship to get married. Yes, I have nine children. Yes, I've laid down a writing career three times now in order to raise them. (I have other interesting personality elements, too, by the way. Could we talk about those instead?) No, this does not automatically make me a martyr to her Feminist cause. It actually shows my strength as a woman who had choices laid out before her and exercised her freedom to choose. As much as I desire to be a part of a group of writers, I'm not sure I'm willing to tolerate this obnoxious person in order to have a mediocre version of the experience I crave.

So my dilemma has been that I've been feeling bad about this. I don't want to seem rude to the person who invited me. I don't want to seem intolerant to an intolerable person. I don't want to give up the idea of a writing group, since I've been looking for one for so long. 

I was praying for answers and faithful Yahweh didn't disappoint. "The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it."

Is this particular experience with this particular group irreplaceable? Of course not. Am I willing to deal with the stress of ignorant people in order to have this experience? Definitely not.

Looking at this situation, it appears the true price of sticking with this group is more than I'm willing to pay. I've got just a handful of emotional energy and spare minutes to spend on personal hobbies, especially those that take me outside the home. Writing has always been therapy to me, but it will never be my number one calling---no matter how much I want to throw myself into it, ignoring all else around me.

More than the Thoreau quote, I think this is what the Father wanted me to take from this experience. It has been several years since I've felt inspired to write anything more than the occasional devotional social media post. Then one day last week, in a matter of minutes, I had an entire storyline downloaded into my mind and I am compelled to write it all out as quickly as I can. I think the Father wants me to put writing in its proper place. A hobby that must be used in His way and in His timing.

There are so many instances in my life where this quote is relevant, but this morning the Father used it to help me solve something so silly but so pressing that it was causing me to lose sleep. Thank you, Father. I think I'll write a break up email and go back to bed!

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