We are sometimes faced with hard choices. At that crossroads we must decide to go left and face demons or go right and possibly escape harm. I want to celebrate in this post people I know who have gone left and knowingly encountered more pain than I can imagine, but have come through the rough journey victorious.

I read today on Facebook that a beautiful young woman who went to Country Day with my kids has come through more than a year of hell and is today Cancer-free. She wrote an eloquent testimony about how despite the pain and sickness of her treatment, despite the doctors’ dire warnings, and more importantly despite the little voice in her head that said “Give up…” she battled on. She proudly rang the bell! She now begins drug treatment to keep the Cancer at bay, and she will have to report for scans every three months. She will live with the fear of the return of that demon, Cancer, but for now most importantly, she will live. She is beautiful and strong and is a model of how to face unreal adversity.

Sometimes it’s just hard to leave the house and a fire in the wood stove.

Another friend from Charlotte had gone to Greece as a student and met a Greek man and fallen in love. She returned to Greece when she could, and lived there with him for years, bearing three children. There was abuse and she knew she had to leave him and flee to America. The man said, however, that he would let her go with the two youngest children, but if she left, she would have to leave her thirteen year old son behind. Meredith is a woman who lives for her children. She is the most devoted parent I know, but to protect the two young ones, she made the decision to flee and left with her heart broken. For years she tried to telephone the boy, but the man would not allow him to speak to his mother. Gradually, the son figured out a way to call her from places outside the home. She cherished those moments, but she worried about him and missed him terribly every day. When he grew older, he was able to come to Charlotte to visit her, and he has grown into a  successful adult. He lives in Greece where he was educated, but they talk and visit when they can and are very close. What a painful journey she made for years!

I find cussing is a good way to keep from slapping someone.

I have faced some hard choices in my life: getting divorced from my first husband and changing my children’s lives forever, and leaving Charlotte where I had a job I loved; and moving to Asheville where I had no job at all. Both of these were terrifying choices that made me wish I could see into the future to determine if things would work out. But I made the difficult decision to jump, and I just hoped that I would land softly. It was never easy, but the decisions proved to be the right ones. I have grown dramatically from facing the adversity of a painful divorce and struggling with the boys in the juvie school where I landed. I would be a much duller, weaker person today if I had stayed where I was. But neither of these crossroads were as traumatizing as the ones faced by these two women. I didn’t face death at an early age, and I didn’t have to make that Sophie’s Choice to leave behind a cherished boy.

Tongue in cheek but still funny!

I celebrate my two most courageous friends today. Bravi to Marni and Meredith. You are the strongest people I know.