13 Nov Making Decisions and Taking Action
Ever had to make a decision that you knew was right, but ripped your heart out at the same time?
If you live long enough, the chances are good, you will.
This picture came up in one of my social media feeds. It’s from 7 years ago today. On the right is our dog, which had been my pal since she was born, and before I was married. On the left is my sister and brother-in-law’s dog.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like I can see the confusion in our pup’s eyes.
If she only knew how much I didn’t want to say goodbye. (Only animal lovers will fully understand.)
My wife had just given birth to our 4th child about 8 weeks prior. The reality of trying to care for an infant, along with siblings that included our 5-year-old son with Autism, made having a dog just too much. It wasn’t fair to my wife, who would be managing the menagerie while I was at my job. It also wasn’t fair to our dog, who wouldn’t be getting the attention she needs.
The truth is, my wife loves me enough that it was truly my decision to make. Honoring her and the sacrifices she makes for our family made this decision obvious.
Even still, sometimes doing the right thing stinks.
Interestingly, the last 7 years have taken twists and turns, some of which no one would have predicted, and all of which would have made keeping our pup a poor decision:
· In a shocking twist, my sister and brother-in-law’s dog died in a tragic accident a few months after this picture was taken. The blessing was that there was still a companion to care for them in their time of loss. This was especially providential as they had just moved to a new state and knew no one there. Decision affirmed.
· As we relocated to a new area in preparation for building a new house, we’ve had to move a few times, which included places that didn’t allow dogs. Decision affirmed.
While this is a lot to say about something that many have had to do, there are greater takeaways here:
· We’re losing when we don’t take action and do what we know needs to be done. We’re either delaying a win or stalling the inevitable. Either way, we aren’t taking charge of our future.
· Some decisions will have unintended benefits and consequences, but not taking action is often worse than either one.
· Most of the time, we simply make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. Accept it and move forward.
Sometimes, if we’re fortunate, it turns to be a better decision than we could have realized for reasons we never would have anticipated. It just takes time to see things in their full context and have a better understanding of why. Even when we get it wrong, those decisions provide the opportunity to learn and do better the next time, if we’re willing to listen to what they will teach us.
Either way, if we never take action, we’ll never find out, and we’ll never grow.