Your Will Versus Mine

Your Will Versus Mine

Your Will Versus Mine

Last night I was greeted by a decision that made me want to stamp my foot down and stubbornly say no, like a defiant child. As my husband stood before me wearing a shiny, black with red and white pinstriped motorcycle helmet, I knew he wasn’t modeling it just for show but rather as a blazon announcement that he had just become the proud owner of another motorcycle.

He and my son gingerly stepped as they broke the story of how the bike came into their possession, knowing that I wouldn’t approve of the purchase, especially with his last bike ending up being totaled after my husband lost control on loose gravel and slammed it into a guardrail. His injuries of abrasion and two broken legs were obviously not severe enough to deter him from straddling a steel steed once again. Maybe the memory of that pain has subsided considerably since a decade or more has passed since that fateful day.

I tolerated their feeble attempt at persuasion as I stood silently, with arms crossed, shaking my head. Over the next couple of hours I stewed over, brewed about, frowned on and worked through my own issues regarding the motorcycle. In those few hours that followed the announcement, I talked little and contemplated much, only to come to a clear decision that “it was not my decision to make.” Many of you reading this may be questioning out loud, “What do you mean it’s not your decision? Are you stupid or something? Don’t you realize that it will be you picking up the pieces of shattered lives when he hurts himself on that death machine?” I hear you; I hear all the fears that can be addressed with doing something that is risky, something dangerous and daring. I also understand the rejuvenation that can come to someone’s spirit when they free themselves of fear and step out of their comfort zone to discover that life can be more than just day-to-day survival as they work to support others with little thought to their own fulfillment. That is what I came to understand as I revisited that kitchen conversation when the story of the bike was unfolded and I saw the kid-like joy in my husband’s eyes, something that had been missing for far too long.

Too often we may want to control others whose decisions will directly affect our own lives. Fear of the “what ifs” or wanting to gain or maintain control are usually the driving force behind someone inhibiting another’s growth. Yes, some may need to be guided if their decisions tend to be rash and not thought out, but ultimately they are the ones to move their own feet. I think of my own children, who we’ve raised to be independent so when we are no longer by their side to protect them and be leaned on they will know what to do. I have been joined in this philosophy with a like-minded spouse. When other parents would tell their children to not climb the trees, we would boost our kids to the lowest branches and encourage them to climb as high as they safely could. So, as they climbed on to new heights we remained there to catch them if they fell. Then, when mountains became their new goal we allowed them the freedom to climb on with safety harnesses, carabiners and climbing ropes securely attached to aid them in their dreams. The only difference with the mountains is that Steve is the one belaying them at the end of the rope (to catch them if they fall). My uneasiness in watching their high assents has kept me observing from a distance, all along knowing that their father is taking up the slack. This teamwork of sorts has been a partnership designed to lift rather than tear down, bringing our boys opportunities to make choices responsibly.

We all have to make decisions each day of just how that day is to be lived. Hopefully, in those decisions we will remember that life is meant to be felt, so when those experiences that bring deep breath are found we will begin to understand a different depth of happiness. There are many places to find that joy, and it should not be too limited. The joy I have experienced with family and friends have been moments not found only in the solemn and peaceful times but also in those times of excitement and exhilaration. I have not been confined or restrained from discovery, and I am grateful for that freedom which has brought me a much richer life. Because those closest to me encourage rather than discourage, I know what it is to breathe deeply, taking in all life has to offer. My steady heart skips a beat regularly, adrenaline pumps through my veins often and sweat drips from my brow occasionally when I attempt to conquer the sometimes seemingly unconquerable.

Seeking after those moments of joy that bring added fulfillment should not be frowned upon if they are not inherently destructive. Even though others may raise a brow in judgment followed by a condescending statement that “it must be a mid-life crisis,” accusations are just words to be ignored when you see yourself or the ones you love dreaming high and reaching for those dreams. So, if you see a middle-aged man on a black Virago motorcycle rolling down the highway with a kid-like grin on his face, know that “it was his decision to make” and my approval to give.

In Other’s Words:

“The first choice we make each and every day is,

“Will we act upon life, or will we merely be acted upon?””

~Stephen R. Covey~

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