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Often we humans make everything so complicated. In fact, life is really pretty simple. As I feel more ancient each day, rather than a hindrance I feel more blessed by the acceptance our body offers our heart, soul, and mind when it is not able to call all the shots.

Instead, when we can enjoy just being and connecting with God, ourselves and all of creation around us, we may begin to take stock of the choices we’ve made along the way.

As for me, I’ve many choices that are beautiful, and while I am proud of those, I have also made many very poor choices that hurt both myself and the ones I love.

When I was younger, all I could feel for my poor choices was guilt, shame, and regret. Africans have a very wise saying to the effect of, “We don’t fall down, we just get where we’re going faster by falling…forward.”

The first step to moving forward is acceptance of where we are, and the second step is to prayerfully consider where we really want and need to go. Admittedly, this can be a painful process…the owning of our humanity. As we look at others from the outside, we may be tempted to compare their “beautiful life” to all the mistakes we’ve made and desperately try to hide them.

As Susan Cain writes in “Bittersweet” even the ones who seem to live a life of effortless perfection are living under the “Duck Syndrome,” referring to the ability of ducks to glide smoothly across a lake as they paddle wildly below the surface.

So the key to a joyful life is all about choices. And then learning to accept them (not just stuff them away to never be considered again) and take full responsibility for them. We put our fists down. We stop blaming even those who hurt or betrayed us because the only great power we hold is the choice of how we respond to a hurting and hurtful world, starting with ourselves.

May you choose wisely, forgive yourself, and walk freely in the grace of God when you don’t. Fall forward.

Love, your sister along the journey,

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