Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 4/21/2008 [Archive]

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

By Martha Randolph Carr

Everything that happens to us is happening for us. That sentence will make some people nod in agreement and others roll their eyes. A few are even going to feel downright angry at the suggestion that something good is buried in the story that is their life. What camp you're in will depend on whether or not you believe in a bigger power than yourself, like God, or you believe we're it, there is no more. To believe there might be a good reason for everything in your life is a sign you're aware of opportunities as they arrive because you see them as good, rather than a booby trap. You aren't dismissing something out of hand and are willing to take those five steps to the left to see where it might lead.

As a species we tend to be historically stubborn, unwilling to make great changes until pushed to the wall through outside forces such as repeated hurricanes ripping down our beach house or we run out of ammunition and can't fire another rocket. Then we move.

It isn't enough that things go wrong the one time, we're going to need proof that it can't get any better right where we are. Sure, we're miserable and it hasn't turned out the way we hoped, yet. But what if I make a different choice, go over there, and learn a whole new system and then it gets better over here. I'll have put in all this work for nothing and miss out again.

This is not the reason the divorce rate in America is so high, it's the reason the marriage rate is so high. Yes, our relationship resembles a really good roller coaster, but the ride up is not so bad and there may not be anyone else out there who wants me.

That's really what's haunting us in each of our little stories. We are living busy little lives revolving around the fear that this is all there is. It is why we will rob someone else's marriage and steal their husband rather than make a different assumption that if one good husband exists, maybe there are two and the next one will still be single. But maybe this husband is all I'm ever going to find. Yes, I know this will hurt you, but what about me?

We don't tend to say these little stories in our head out loud to anyone because we know they would feel obligated to tell us to make a different choice, go anywhere else, do something different. And, we're pretty sure we still wouldn't move.

It's not that the familiar is so comfortable; it's that the unfamiliar is so painful. To go in that new direction is to admit to the deepest part of ourselves that some old story we've been carrying around with us like a second skin is never going to work out. It's over and it didn't have a good ending.

However, if we were to look back just one more time we'd notice that there was never really a good chapter. It was a bad tale from the very beginning and no amount of rewriting was going to fix it.

Now, here's where having a small, grain of faith can make the next part easier, but even without that, you can do this.

Make just one different choice and set an entirely new story into motion full of new possibilities. And, with your new awareness, choose healthier, happier options right up front that have a better chance of building into a great story that will be your life. No, you still won't know how it will all turn out and yes, there will probably be some twists and turns you don't like along the way. But, instead of trying to repair what never worked and shoring up a life built on sand, you'll be creating something you always wanted, nurturing it all along the way. One story was always focused on what was going wrong and will teach you to believe in lack, and one is looking at what is going right and will teach you to believe in what might come next. More adventures to follow.

Martha Randolph Carr's latest book, A Place to Call Home is available wherever books are sold. If you would like Martha to come and speak to your group go to

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