There are moments in a life that illustrate the person that we are. Those moments that define our priorities. They are often times of adversity; often moments in which we have to make a decision or a choice that will change our lives.
These moments – the defining choices – the impact of our actions may be felt immediately or may not be recognized for years. We might not realize that the choice made at that moment will prove to have significance, yet, weeks or months or years later, we will see and feel that it was a pivotal time in our lives. A moment when things changed; a moment when we found a fork in the path and made a choice.
Ironically I am not sure that they are always decisions or choices that we make ourselves that prove to be the defining moments.
I can look at my own life and recognize the choices that I made – each contributing to the life and the person that I am today. The choice to view my disability as a gift at the wonderful age of 9… that was a defining moment. It shaped my life in ways that have yet to be revealed.
The choices to work at summer camps on the other side of the country, to live in Prague where I would work through some very dark days with lots of writing, reading, and a little bit of sarcasm, and the choice to have a child on my own and to parent that child actively. Defining moments; choices that I made that changed my life and the direction in which I traveled.
A few months ago I found myself experiencing a defining moment of another sort, the kind involving the choices and decisions of another. At the time I accepted the choice without second thought. It was something in keeping with the personality and life history of the individual. I just didn’t think twice about it.
It is only now, after a lot of soul searching and talking and writing and growth that I see the moment for what it was – defining. In that moment I saw this person more clearly than in previous years. That one moment; that one decision defined him more clearly than I ever could have anticipated. It is the person that came to light then that I see now.
I am not sure that it proved to be a defining moment to him. I am not even sure that he will remember that moment or take anything away from the choice made or the path we traveled diverging at that point. But I did.
That moment was about risk or fear. It was commitment over broken promises. It was about integrity or leaving someone else to explain it all away.
Lives change in just a moment. One minute a path is shared while the next… two walk on diverging paths.
It is the snap of fingers, the drop of water from the sky, or the beating of butterfly wings. One defining moment that changes a life… or several lives. It happens just, like, that.