I ACCEDE TO MY ALL

Today I’m going to have a little fun. I have chosen the book ‘What Would Judy Say? Be the Hero of Your Own Story’ by Judge Judy Sheindlin. Judge Judy Sheindlin is the presiding judge on the reality-courtroom television show Judge Judy, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month.

Today I pray, “OK, God! I’m revved up for this new adventure, and I don’t need to have it all figured out right now. Happiness lives on this journey. What I know is that I am right where I am meant to be, and my new assignment is in the works. I pray that this mission fits my natural gifts and does not feel forced. What is today’s discernment on a joyful and lively mission, not an overbearing life sentence?”

Following my prayer, I was summoned to read the following passage on page 23:

“It was my big secret. I had always been so self-assured and directed. For the first time in my life I felt trapped. I looked around my pleasant suburban neighborhood and realized that in the eyes of everyone around me, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The women I knew all had children. They had all stopped working and seemed happy as clams. Their idea of success was having husbands who made enough money so that they didn’t have to work and they could stay home. Some even had help with the kids and the house. Being stay-at-home moms was their measure of success. Were they really happy? Who knows? No one was talking.
Sometimes I tried to reorient my priorities, to remind myself of my life’s gifts—my beautiful kids, my nice husband. What was there to complain about? Wasn’t I supposed to want this? But it wasn’t my dream.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love my children. I did—above all else. And it made me feel guilty that I didn’t want to spend every waking moment in their company. But I couldn’t escape the truth. So one day when my children were three and four, I did a very small thing that changed the direction of my life. I took an afternoon off to attend a bar association luncheon. I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time—I probably just craved adult company. Being in that room full of lawyers was wonderful and stimulating. I wanted that feeling to be part of my everyday life.
As fate would have it, at the luncheon I started a con- versation with an old classmate who was running the Manhattan office of the family court. He politely asked what I was doing, and I told him about my kids. I also mentioned that I was going a little nuts in the burbs.
He brightened. ‘You’re exactly the person I need. Want a job?’
My heart lifted. I said yes on the spot. I practically floated home. Even today, thinking back, I can remember that feeling of joy, the sense of fullness, like I was myself again. No one was going to take it away from me.”
—JUDGE JUDY SHEINDLIN

I am certainly looking for life to continue being wonderful and stimulating. It is so easy to be convinced of what our duties and responsibilities should be. Sometimes we look to others — grandparents, parents, friends, etc. — to see what paths they chose. But we overlook the one who is going to walk that very path. Our greatest responsibility isn’t to choose what we “should want,” rather, to feel complete, shielded in fullness and joy.

Balancing the scales toward a justified life begins with authentic choice. Yes, I agree that women (and men) can have it all. My only point of contention is surrounding the definition of “all.” All can mean marriage, family, and career. Or it can mean abundance in terms defined by the one who is going for it. I know what my all is and I am acceding to it.

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