Friday, April 15, 2011

Choices and Desires

When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously....Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming. Dallin H. Oaks

Sometimes the greater challenge, for me, is not achieving what I desire, but deciding what I really desire and determining if it’s worth the cost.

Sometimes, what I want isn’t good for me. This is basic stuff, and yet, still, ridiculously challenging. Once while I was in Target, I saw a young assistant struggling with an elderly patient. The wheelchair bound woman refused to leave the candy aisle, despite the efforts of her nurse. Enormous, the woman had planted her feet and locked her chair and reached, helplessly towards the candy making a noise much like a dying animal, while the young nurse tried, without success, to wheel the patient away. The nurse tried reasoning, but the woman didn’t want to hear. I wondered how long it take before the woman would realize her nurse was right and her hopes for candy were not only futile, but dangerous. I can relate to that woman parked in her chair in the candy ailse on many levels that I don’t want to share.

Sometimes, because of choices I’ve made, what I want isn’t available anymore. Whether I knew at the time, or not, that my today choice would limit my future choices doesn’t really matter. The choice was made and finis, there I am on the other side of a bridge I didn’t even know I had crossed. This reminds me of two dogs in Chile. Dogs in Chile are a lot like the young lovers in Chile – they’re everywhere. I like dogs and I’m sympathetic towards young lovers, so I found this interestingly different from our hurry up and get somewhere culture (my husband and I were always much too busy doing something to hangout snogging on street corners or park benches.) Anyway, back to my point -- I will not digress into snogging thoughts -- in Chile I saw these two dogs on opposite sides of a wrought iron fence. They were clearly distressed by their separation. Nose to nose, front paws extended and touching, they whined, but it didn’t matter. At one point one dog had chosen to enter the cemetery surrounded by the fence and the other hadn’t and they were now on separate sides of the fence. That’s happened to me, too. Friends I thought I'd always have, relationships that I thought could weather anything, slip away.

Sometimes something that I really wanted turns out to be awful. It’s like the cake at the bakery that’s mouthwateringly beautiful but tastes like cardboard, or the acquaintance that appears charming, beautiful and has great shoes, but when you really spend some time with her, really get to know her, all she does is complain. Which brings me to my last analogy. Shortly after the birth of my third child, Larry was given tickets to a Broadway play. The play had won the Tony, had received awesome reviews, we had smack-dab front and center seats and we were there as guests of an important business contact (and his wife). I love the theater. I love New York. My anticipation for an evening out, in New York, at the theater, with potty-trained grown-ups had been sky-high, but sometime during the first act it became glaringly obvious that this show wasn’t for me. (Despite my sympathy for young lovers, by Broadway standards, I’m a prude of the first order.) We made an excuse and left.

My point is, sometimes, even if I really, really thought I wanted something, sometimes I have to put down the candy, stay on my side of the fence, or say goodnight and go home.

Where, in reality, is the place I most want to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment