My to do list extends across several pages. As I categorize, noting key actions to take, I find myself wrestling with challenges that are well beyond my ability to solve. I might be able to, however it’s iffy. Even if I could, I wonder if my answer would be anywhere near excellence.
The solution is to seek counsel. On one hand, the response is obvious and normal. Individuals in every generation, from all walks, use this approach. In an old story, with someone on trial, “the king and the governor, along with Bernice and their advisors, got up and went into the next room to talk over what they had heard.” (Acts 26.30) Today, we have this plus advisors, counselors, therapists, and others filling the gaps.
What criteria does one use when choosing someone to provide counsel? Is it simply a matter of trust? Where does professional expertise come in? Then there is wisdom, compassion, and empathy. One could rely on a foundation of shared values and priorities.
Like many of life’s answers, I find what I am looking for in a balance and mix of sources. I have come to value the vision and insight of those that see life differently than I do. I know it is easy to start with individuals I trust. Yet, it is in the other that I often find the most value. Looping back to those I trust at the end is often more useful than in the beginning.
It is an odd conundrum. When a stranger trusted me with a question, I candidly gave him the hard answer. I did not know. I shared a few universal principles that I knew applied to the situation and suggested that others would have wisdom that I did not.
I often try to solve problems on my own. I hoard the stress. I quietly struggle with the alternatives in my mind. I even formulate the possible outcomes, weighing the possibilities until there is only one path.
Life invites us into something different. Live in the present. Response to what is real.