she was a beautiful young lady who walked in the clinic for a consultation.
i am confused, she said.
what happened? i inquired.
i need to start taking pills because i have a boyfriend and i do not want to get pregnant, she continued.
then don’t have sex, i joked. but her eyes did not laugh with me, and for a moment i thought i had offended her.
but i love him, and he loves me. i also want to do so much with life. i want to feel love and not be worried about becoming pregnant. i want to enjoy it all… traveling, seeing the world… and i feel i do not want to be committed to something i am not ready for and do not want.
marriage? i clarified.
yes, she said. you see, my parents are separated. all my married friends are unhappy in their marriages. so there is much in myself, my circumstances, and in my past that makes me cringe at even the thought of marriage.
we settled in a pause. and in that quiet, i prayed for guidance.
we are not defined by our past or our present circumstances, i began. we are defined by our choices. your past does not define you. your friends do not define you. the choices that we make… they build us… who we are… who we will be.
we are surrounded by so many examples of what goes wrong in the world. but that doesn’t mean we cannot choose to do otherwise… that we cannot be that precious exception to all the bad things that happen… to be that one good thing in this world, an example of a well-lived life to others.
marriage is not easy, i agree with you. nobody is ever really ready for marriage and especially the life after marriage. there are instances when i have told my wife that i do not like her (hurtful words, don’t you think?)… but i have always chosen to love her… despite the hurts in my heart.
looking back, what did we get for choosing to love? four wonderful boys, who saw the example of their parents, who also know how to share and spread their love around without conditions.
we continue to enjoy the world, travel, and share our blessings to those who have less. these are the fruits of the choices we have made, and the challenge of continually choosing the good each and every day.
she had a far-off look in her eyes, and you could hear the gears slowly turning in her head. she smiled faintly for the first time. her face was lighter and brighter, as the smile reached her eyes. and you could feel her spirit rising.
thank you, she said. she stood up, shook my hand, and walked out to her own life, to face her own choices.