Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The End of the Line

Sometimes you reach a moment when you know, with absolute certainty, that you can't go any further. You've taken the issue as far as you can and have to get out clinging to the barest shred of dignity you have left. I've been fighting a fight that I believed in but knew deep down I would never win, but I wasn't ready to give up until last night.

The process of standing up for yourself is rewarding and difficult at exactly the same time. I've become keenly aware of every person's need for respect during this challenging period, and when respect was not given to me I could feel myself rise up and demand it. Every person deserves respect and dignity in the way they are treated. I must treat people the way I wish to be treated, and I'm proud to look back at this twisting, bumpy road and say that I can hold my head high and know I did what I could to make a bad situation better, and in the long run it will have been worth it.

Standing up for what you believe can make you popular with one group, and extremely unpopular with another when lines are drawn in the sand. I have to be able to look in the mirror and live with how I've conducted myself, and I can do that. I owned my mistake in this process, apologized for it, and tried to be civil and kind for the rest of the time. I am only responsible for my own behaviour. I can't force people to treat me a certain way or come around to my way of thinking, and the argument becomes meaningless after a while. What matters is how we treat people and how we allow ourselves to be treated.

I love that moment of peace that comes when we least expect it. In the middle of gunfire, peace can descend so thoroughly that it takes your breath away. I didn't know what to do before last night to solve the problem because the process wasn't finished. It was uncomfortable, and frustrating, and I wanted to quit many times along the way, but I didn't have the peace I was looking for.

I heard a sermon once where the pastor said, "Wait means weigh-it." If you are in that terribly lonely place of waiting for something to happen, or you can't figure out which way to turn, take that time to weigh all of the options. Don't proceed until it feels 100% right, and you know with certainty what you should do.

Trust that you will know when the time is right. I did. Last night, in the middle of one of the most frustrating experiences I've ever been through, I felt that peace settle around me like a blanket, and I knew, as clear as could be, what I had to do.

It's worth the wait. If you are in a tough spot, don't give up until you know that's the route you must take. If you don't know, wait, and weigh-it. If it doesn't feel right, you aren't ready to take a step, and then when you are ready, there will be no doubt in your mind about how you should proceed. Trust yourself. Treat others as you wish to be treated, even if you aren't respected in return. Don't settle for less than the best for yourself, because you deserve it, and you will look back at how far you've come and be glad you stood up for yourself.

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