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Rev. Sandra Schubert

Life Crossroads
by Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert

Road of Life

We can say with some certainty what our plans will be on any given day. We may start with coffee, a shower or some exercise. Most of us go to work or school from Monday to Friday. Saturday is for shopping and errands. Sunday’s we wake up late; go to brunch or a church service. Maybe you get up and create art or work nights. A routine is not a bad thing, affording us the comfort to stretch emotionally and physically without distraction. However we have learned from experience that our comfortable routine can be jarringly disrupted. Tragedy strikes. We go to work and lose our job. A relative is stricken with a serious illness. Or we look in the mirror and realize this is not the life we had planned on living.

A Crucial Point

Whether we planned it or not we are standing at life’s crossroads and are forced to make decisions. Most decisions are a normal part of life we make every day. We decide to wear blue instead of red. We drop an umbrella in our bag at the last moment. Do you want paper or plastic? Some require more thought. We must decide what school to attend or to leave a marriage. Is now the time to have a baby or should I wait until my career is established? Other decisions are thrust upon us. The longed for dream house is not longer affordable. An illness forces critical choices to be made about a loved one’s care. At this crucial point in life’s journey the decision we make can have long-range ripples. What is the wisest choice? Do we take a risk, or the safer route? Both options require courage and faith that the outcome will be for the best.

The Fear of Fear

Any moment at a crossroads can be filled with some trepidation. The feeling of fear is one of those great reasons to stay home behind closed doors watching people change their lives on Oprah or Dr. Phil. Fear has gotten a bad rap implying weakness, a lack of mettle. I think fear is just common sense. What is it but an awareness of danger? We no longer have to worry about the big bad Saber Tooth Tiger swiping a wayward child for a noontime snack. However, we do have to consider terrorism or natural disasters and the loss of our livelihood. When faced with danger you have some choices – run and hide – a good option when faced with something bigger then you. Or, get the biggest stick you can find and fight back. Swing that stick and beat back the thing that scares you. Stand your ground – face the thing in front of you and see if it shrivels under your glare. All valid options depending on the situation. What is important to know is fear is an emotion that gives warning. It asks us to pay attention. Something requires action. Here are some tips that have worked well for me:

  • Face the fear. You have heard it before. A little problem can become a monster if you let it. Look at the problem and brainstorm some solutions. Speak to friends and families – ask their thoughts. Taking some action can help you feel you have power over a situation.

  • Do something different. When faced with fear in the land of unemployment I decided to try something new and write an e-course on writing. I spent my time while laid off creating something instead of just hanging out. I had a choice to live in fear or try something new. That choice sent me down a completely different path. Since then I have had several articles published and will write my first monthly column.

  • Move your body – Cuban salsa lessons went a long way in getting me out of my head. Fear is nothing when you are trying to learn to move your body in a completely new way. Movement also releases tension. It is hard to face an issue when in high stress mode. Exercise, good nutrition and lots of rest will help alleviate and curb anxiety. Care of the body can improve your mood and clear the mind.

  • Take some time to reflect. In the middle of a crisis, some quiet time is called for. Recharge your spirit. Try 15 minutes of simple deep breathing or meditating. Take a walk in nature, browse through a favorite bookstore and enjoy some time alone. In addition, reflection helps to look at a situation calmly. You can view it with a rational mind. You might find a problem has more solutions then previously considered.

Above all, respect your emotions. It is all right to feel afraid - we all do from time to time. Faced with a challenge it is OK to feel the beating of your heart. It reminds you are still alive.

Crossing the Unknown Sea

In his book, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, David Whyte recounts a life-changing event at work. In moment of exasperation he stuck his head into a meeting at work asking if anyone had seen David. A stunned silence followed by laughter answered him, since he was the only David in the office and he was indeed looking for himself. In that moment he knew he had been lost and the ensuing year was about reclaiming who he was and becoming a fulltime poet. In a conversation that evening a friend said to him, "You must do something heartfelt, and you must do it soon." It was a challenge to him to move out of a comfort zone and to do something with real meaning.

Despite reassurances life does not offer guarantees. It is capricious. Nice cars, a good education and a high IQ don’t mean things will go smoothly. When standing at life’s crossroads you don’t necessarily know which way is the best. One road may mean happiness, another adventure, and yet another means safety and security. It takes heart to be alive in the world. You have both, courage and heart; do not be afraid to express either.

How About Love?

"We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love; we must meet physical force with soul free." Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote is part of a larger article in which Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about how he and his fellow peaceful resistors should act towards the white men who were persecuting them. He wanted change through love not hate. Not the daisy in the gun barrel type of love but a deep and profound kind. Allowing him to follow a path that would change his life and the world. Our decisions may not be this profound but they still require a commitment. Each day and every decision we can choose how to approach life. Can we have a deeper love influence our lives?


"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us". Joseph Campbell

Our careful routine may be dramatically changed by events out of our hands. Or we take a risk and change our lives around. We can’t really know what tomorrow brings. There is something new around the corner to be discovered. This uncertainty is part of the thrill of being alive. My friend recounted the story of meeting her husband. She walked into a pub looked around and decided to leave. Something made her turn around and voice called out asking her to come on in. The man that called out to her was a fireman. She sat across from him and next to the man who would someday be her husband. The fireman would witness her marriage and the adoption of her son. Later he would lose his life in 9/11. She said, "I don’t know what made me turn back." On the street near the pub a sign bears the name of the fireman. Each moment bears in it the possibility for transformation.

http://www.gratefulness.org/readings/whyte_dsr.htm - An excerpt from Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity and the conversation between David Whyte and his friend.

http://www.grandfolkies.com/newchan1.htm - A roadmap for change. There is a lot of work to do here but the style is so breezy and home style that it makes you want to make changes, at least for the grandfolks sakes.

A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Martin Luther King

© Copyright 2004
Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert.  All Rights Reserved. 

Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert
Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert is an interfaith minister, writer and founder of Wild Woman Ministries and Wild Woman Network a forum to explore and express creativity and spirituality. As a minister and coach, Rev. Schubert helps people discover and unlock their creative potential -- through creating art, producing classes and workshops or just pursuing a life long goal -- and is committed to assisting people in fulfilling their dreams. She also leads workshops and facilitates a popular writing program called the Wild Angels at the historic Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  Her subscription e-course - Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own, is available: http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/courses.shtml Email:  wwn@wildwomannetwork.com, or visit www.wildwomanministries.org.  212-642-5042



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