The Queen of My Self

By Joan Chittister  

At a crossroads, remember, there are three possible options to choose from.

The first choice is simply to quit a road that is going nowhere. We can move out and move on, we can move away from it all, and leave the unfinished mission undone.

The second choice is to give in to the fatigue that comes from years of being ignored — or worse — of being ridiculed or excommunicated — and go silently into oblivion. The second choice is to crawl into a comfortable cave with nice people and wait for the storm to go by.

The third choice is to refuse to accept the decadent present and insist on celebrating the coming of the unknown, but surely holy, future. The third choice is to go steadfastly on following the path of the prophets, of those who spoke before us but were also not heard until long after the fact.

Prophets are those who take life as it is and expand it. They simply refuse to shrink a vision of tomorrow to the boundaries of yesterday.

But never forget as well, that the prophets, like you and I — discouraged by the present, weary from trying—also toyed with all three options. But in the end chose to go on following the spiritual magnet of their lives rather than allow it to wither.

The prophets — everyone of them — when they came to the crossroads, when they came to a chance to settle down there, to quit, to accept what was, chose instead to keep on going.

They chose to go on — despite it all. If not with a sense of total and immediate success, then as sirens in the night, as seeders of far-flung seeds, as eternal agitators in the soul of the nation, as torches in the murk of confusion. They chose to go on illuminating to others, down century after century, the eternal word of God.

They chose to go on shouting the message upon which the future rested and the people depended if they were to find their way out of the darkness to which a failed leadership had condemned them.

You and I know that these people — people just like us: simple and sincere, eager and inspired — these fruit growers like Amos and small business people like Hosea, these priests and sheep masters, these theologians and dreamers like Isaiah and Ezekiel, these struggling lovers and suffering witnesses made no small choices indeed.

They chose courage; they chose the expansion of the soul; they chose to stake their lives on what must be rather than stake their comfort on what was.
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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

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