Years ago I was accepted to the nursing program at the first college I attended. It was a two- year RN program. I found out I was accepted to the program about a month before my mom’s battle with breast cancer came to an end.
During her nearly five-year fight with the cancer beast, I took on more and more responsibilities at home. At 16, I would help out by driving my mom to her doctor’s appointments, by doing the weekly grocery shopping, and by making lunch for my mom on the days she was in too much pain to do it herself. It was caring for my mom that helped me to recognize this desire I had to care for others. It was also what prompted me to take steps toward becoming a nurse.
However, my days in the nursing program were short-lived. After one semester, I quit, despite having one of my instructors question my decision. You’ve come a long way, Eileen. Are you sure you want to quit now?
Looking back at that decision, I am reminded that the choices we make can continue to speak to us and teach us for the rest of our lives. That decision to leave the nursing program and head in a different direction was the first of many fear induced choices I would make in my adult life. At the time, I convinced myself it was just too painful and I was still grieving the loss of my mom. Yet, today I know, it was more than that. I just wanted to run away. I was on a quest for easy and painless.
That single choice to leave the nursing program is one I often reflect on when I’m tempted to let fear have the last say in my decision-making process. Fear will always encourage us to look for an easier, safer way. Fear will always make us false promises… easy = pain-free.
But here’s the irony about easy routes: While we’re busy running away from hard we often crash right into more pain.
I think about the story of the prodigal son. His search for easy didn’t go so well for him. In fact, the plan he thought would bring him the most happiness eventually left him starving and in far greater need than when he first began his quest for the good life.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. ~ Luke 15:14
Today, don’t run away from your life. Don’t make the mistake of believing that easy will bring happiness or joy. Instead, make the choice to confront the hard. Make the choice to do the challenging work of really living.
Question: Have you ever run away from your life? What were the consequences? What did you learn?