Making hard decisions


It’s been a difficult process, unwinding my life in 14 days. We’d gone from despairing that the house would ever sell and making plans for staying another 2 years, to sudden joy that it finally sold, to panic at the fact we had to be out in a fortnight.

If we had simply been moving to another suburb, it would have been easily achievable – just throw everything into boxes and sort it out at the other end. Some boxes never get sorted and they languish in the shed for years until they finally get chucked in a fit of cleaning passion.

But in this case, we needed to set up for a very different style of life. Everything needed either to go into a small storage locker, or into the car and camper trailer. For those not Australian, a camper trailer is like a big fold-out tent on wheels. It has the advantage that it can be towed behind a 4WD and go places a caravan would never make it. It has the disadvantage of not having a lot of storage space.

And none of our animals could go with us. So homes needed to be found for a cat, a dog and a guinea pig in a hurry.

So the hard decisions began, and an awful lot of runs to the tip. I really dislike throwing things away which are still useful, so the majority of the furniture went to a local charity, but we really had been hanging on to some things for far too long. Did I really need my high school savings passbook, for instance? Into the shredder it went. The tiles for the mosaic project never started – back to the tip. In the end though, the advantages of buying most of our stuff secondhand showed. We had already given them a second life, so if they went to landfill, it really didn’t matter.

We really still have too much stuff with us. I expect this will be pared down on the road, as it has on other journeys. When you have to pack up every second day, the value of your stuff becomes severely diminished. You find out what is really important – friends and family. Home is where you happen to be at the time. And stuff is just stuff.

The hardest decision came right at the last. The dog had still not found a home by the morning of settlement and I had to make the drive to drop him off at the pound, where I hoped he would find another home, but knew he would probably be euthanased. I had made every effort to find him a new family, but none of my efforts bore any fruit at all. Somehow I was being blocked at every turn. And as soon as I had left it up to fate and signed his life away, suddenly the phone calls began. I was very upset for a few days, as I had a call giving me the bad news that the pound considered him aggressive and were planning to euthanase him that evening. But a few days later, I discovered through a friend that a last minute rescue had occurred and he has a new home.

I feel that I had to let him go, in order for him to find a new home. I was prepared to take personal responsibility for having him euthanased if no-one wanted him. In the end, that didn’t happen, which I am joyous about. But the sacrifice had to be made, in a way.

When you are a witch or a pagan, much of the religion (in contrast to modern Christianity)  is about taking that personal responsibility. The Wiccan Rede talks about ‘do what thou will, and harm none’ but this is a corruption of Aleister Crowley’s ‘do what thou will, shall be the whole of the law’. My father has a saying: “take what you want, and pay for it” which is a version of the same thing. A witch or pagan needs to take personal responsibility for their actions. Any spell cast has a price. The three-fold rule is an explanation of how we need to be careful what we wish on other people, because it will come back on us. And a witch or pagan needs to be ready to take the hard decisions. We don’t get to put our fate in the hands of a God who will watch over us and treat us like children. Our Gods laugh at us, and expect us to stand up to them, to demand answers, to fight, to behave in an adult manner. If we really want something, they expect us to make a sacrifice, not to go about whining and wishing.

The hard decisions in life have the effect of making us grow stronger, but only if we face up to the reality of the situation and do our best to make the right choice. It doesn’t always work out for the best, but I’m very glad that this time it did.