Thursday, November 20, 2003

Decisions, Decisions

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…..and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” ~ James 1:5,6 (NKJV)

My friends, Jack & Evelyn, recently told me about a wonderful ministry called Dial Hope. Dial Hope is a daily inspirational message which is written and recorded by Dr. Roger Kunkel (a native of Parsons, Kansas) and is an outreach of The First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Florida. With Dr. Kunkel’s permission, I would like to share the toll free number with you: 1-866-528-4673. The messages are short but very inspiring.

Dr. Kunkel recently sent me a written copy of one of his Dial Hope messages about decisions. Here is an excerpt:

“Harvey Cox has observed, “Not to decide is to decide.” I would like to suggest that to decide and then not to act is not to decide at all. Decisions must be followed by action or they die. Once you decide, don’t fumble around the way the young man did after having a wonderful evening with his girlfriend. He had never kissed her and he thought to himself, ‘What’s the matter? Are you afraid? I dare you to do it!’

So at the door, he said, “Can I have a kiss?” She just shifted a bit, so he said, a little louder this time, “Can I have a kiss?” She just looked at him, so he said still louder, “Can I have a kiss?” By that time she was almost nose-to-nose with him, and he just couldn’t figure it out. So he said, exasperatedly, “Are you deaf?” She replied, “Are you paralyzed?”

“Just as the young man was paralyzed by fear and indecision, we can be immobilized if our faith is feeble, our desire is diluted, or our will is a little wimpy. Faith is not a noun, it is a verb. And, through faith in Jesus Christ, we can do far more than we ever dreamed possible. When faith is a verb, it becomes action based upon the assurance of things we hope for and our conviction of things we cannot see.”

Having just made one of the biggest (and most frightening) decisions of my life, I can truly relate to the lesson in this message. As the Bible verse above states, however, if we waver in our decisions, then we will become like a ship tossed to and fro by the waves. I can't look back like Lot's wife or I will miss out on what God has in store up ahead. Keen and I have peace in our hearts about what we’re doing, so we will press forward in faith.

Speaking of my decision, I have received a variety of responses from friends and family about my decision to take a writing sabbatical in Nevada. Most of it has been positive, but some has been negative. A few people have even expressed feelings of hurt and anger that I am leaving them. (Thankfully, none of those people were members of my immediate family.)

The most notable criticism came from one of my sister’s friends who has never even met me. Here’s a summary of her concerns:

She has a teenage son who has been caught stealing and has threatened to kill her, so she doesn’t think it’s wise for me to leave Kirk. But she doesn’t know my son.

She wondered what Kirk will do if his friends tease him and say, “I heard your mother left you.” But she doesn’t know my son’s friends.

Her ex-husband is a writer who used his writing studio as an opportunity to have an extra-marital affair, so she thinks we’re making a terrible mistake. But she doesn’t know me or my husband.

She said, “Eileen thinks she has all her bases covered, but there’s no way she can anticipate every situation that might arise.” Well, I don’t think anyone can claim to have all their bases covered, but I know Someone who does. She doesn’t know my God.

When the conversation was over, my sister told her friend that she believes this may be the first of many books that I write and she promptly replied, “Yep, yep - that’s the way it goes. It’s a slippery slope.” But Mary had the perfect response. She said, “It’s not a slippery slope; it’s a beautiful climb.”

“A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul.”
~ Proverbs 13:19

That wonderful Bible verse was on the cover of a card I received from Gary & Linda Kaus (my daughter-in-law, Lisa’s parents).

I’d like to thank all the people who have wished me well with my decision to follow my heart into this unchartered territory. Here are some examples of their encouraging comments:

• It makes me cry to think Keen and Kirk are so unselfish and must love you very much! You deserve this time away to write, although I know it will be difficult to not be sharing time with them each day. While Keen is following his career, you are also. I am so very proud that you want to get your story written and published so that other citizens may share. Fantastic, Eileen!
• This adventure sounds daring and ever so exciting, as adventures should be! I'm guessing you're listening to your gut on this one--and you're doing exactly what you should be doing. I wish you the best, as I'm sure anyone who knows you does.
• I think it's a great idea for you to get away for a while to write your book. You have such a great supportive family and some day they will really cherish having your story to share with future family generations.
• YOU GO GIRL!!! Good for you for pursuing your dream and goal of writing a book. I think that that is awesome. I wish you the very best and will pray for you so that your mind will be clear and that you can write "with the greatest of ease." Your husband and son sound great for giving you their blessing and encouragement.
• Good luck, Eileen. My thoughts are prayers go with you. (I have good
vibes about this.)
• You and Keen have always been ones to follow and live your dreams. I was never able to do that in such a "big way" but really admire your determination to make things happen! You Go Girl!
• What courage you have...I greatly admire this move...God bless you and keep you and continue to make His light shine on you...
• I think you made a wise decision. Best wishes for the project. But don't forget to take a walk around the block if the words are not flowing--or go to a movie. When you return to the computer, they will flow again.
• Wow! That is very exciting. I hope it all pays off for you and somehow I think that it will.
• I love to see someone move ahead with their goals. I want the first signed book when it comes out. I want to go when you are directing the movie. Fulfill yourself - there are not that many days in our lives to do that. Go Girl!!
• You can't know how happy your message makes me. I have thought of you at least a million times and willed you to write your story. It was a WONDERFUL story and needs to be written. Do not lose heart. You can do it. You are ready to do it. I salute you!!
• WOW!!!!! GO FOR IT GIRL and please accept this as my order for one of your first, signed copies of your book! Our prayers will be for you everyday to give you the strength and clear mind to "tell it just like it happened".
• This sounds wonderful! You have some wonderful men backing you up, that's for sure! I've always been very interested in what you and your family went through, and I look forward to reading your book when it's done.
• I am so proud to know you and share even this tiny bit of your adventure! Godspeed to you, as they say, and enjoy your wings that take you to a new part of your life and those same wings that bring you home again.

“Far away, there in the sunshine, are my highest aspirations.
I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty,
believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

~Louisa May Alcott