Monday, August 17, 2015

Time To Make Hard Choices

I knew the day would come, but I had hoped it wouldn't be for a very long time.  But it has arrived and now I must face the truth--little Tippy can no longer hike with us.  At 14+ years of age, she has done a wonderful job of staying fit and healthy enough to keep up with us on our weekly hikes.  But over the past several months, she has become slower and weaker, and she is now to the point where she hobbles and limps all the time.  She doesn't act like she's in pain, only that she has little strength.  Her eyesight and hearing are mostly gone.  Her balance is iffy at best.  I hate to say it, but my little girl has gotten old.

The last few hikes we tried to take her on were miserable for all of us.  Mitchell couldn't go as fast as he wanted.  Tippy would have preferred to be carried the entire way.  And Jason and I were torn as to what to do to give each dog what they needed plus be able to enjoy the hike ourselves.  So, last week, we decided to see what would happen if we left Tippy at home.  Would she freak and pout?  Would Mitchell understand why he was all alone in the back seat of the Xterra?  Would I feel guilty, like the worst "Mommy" in all the world, the entire time we were gone?

Actually, it turned out nicely.  Jason, Mitchell and I all enjoyed the quicker pace and the opportunity to hike farther than we had in a long time due to Tippy's lack of stamina.  And when we arrived at home, Tippy was sound asleep on the rug, so evidently she wasn't completely scarred by our abandonment.  I did feel guilty at first, but honestly, the pleasantness of the hike soon erased the guilt from my mind.  (That sounds terrible, doesn't it?  But I can't explain to you the difference that it made not having to cater to her needs the entire trip.)

Since our experiment went so well, we decided to leave her home again this past weekend.  With the entire day and beautiful weather, we decided to simply hike until we felt like turning back.  We booked it down familiar trails and even explored new ones (well, new to us).  For the first time in a very long time, we were actually hiking, not simply meandering down a trail.  I was exhilarated, especially when I discovered that we had hiked over six miles in three hours.  We were winded and sweaty, and our bodies were beginning to protest, but I was completely astounded.  It had been so long since we had done such a workout that I honestly didn't think I could.  I had no idea I still had that in me.  I thought that kind of energy and stamina was long gone.

Funny, sometimes in life we face terrible decisions that we've dreaded for so long.  Questions plague our minds and guilt fills our hearts.  What if they don't understand?  How will she respond?  What else will be affected if I make this choice.  The decision has to be made even though the entire ordeal is difficult and painful.  But sometimes, as I've recently learned, making difficult decisions can result in amazing conclusions.  If it weren't for our decision to leave Tippy at home, I wouldn't have discovered that energy and strength that were hidden deep within me.  I wouldn't have realized that my health is not as bad as I thought.  The joy of the journey was renewed because of one tough decision.

What decision are you facing today?  It could be about a job, a relationship, a financial matter or something else entirely.  It doesn't really matter.  The principle is the same.  Seek God's will in the situation, and then follow His leadership even if it means making a difficult decision.  I know it will be tough at first, but you may find more joy in the journey as a result.  And God will handle the rest.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. - James 1:5

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