“Forks in the road”

I sat down today and thought about all the “forks in the road” that could have led to a much different life for me. 

Some of these “forks” were faced by my parents and others were the ones I faced, but each one resulted in where I am today. 

The major “fork” that my parents had was to stay married or get divorced. When I was a child, I imagined what it would have been like for them to stay together— my mother wouldn’t have married my step-father and my life might have been more stable. I used to spend a lot of time wondering what that might have looked like. Now I know that it was just a waste of time. 

One of the “forks” I faced was to get sterilized or not get sterilized. I chose to get sterilized after four children and two miscarriages. There are days when I regret that decision and I wonder what it would have been like to have more children. The days I spent mourning my decision was also a waste of time. 

Sometimes we make bad decisions and sometimes people make a choice that we just have to “live with.” Even though we replay these things in our heads and wish that we can go back in time and do things differently, we can’t do anything to change the past. 

I used to have a lot of guilt about the “forks” I had taken, but I realized that God had allowed me to take these various paths. If I wasn’t supposed to take them then He would have done something to prevent me from taking them. 

Sometimes the path is difficult and full of heartache, but even then I have to realize that it’s the path He wanted me to take. I can’t waste my time thinking about things that “could have been” because there’s a reason why I was on that path and not on the other. If my mind and heart are elsewhere then I won’t be alert to what I’m supposed to see and experience. 

I had a very difficult childhood because of the “fork” my parents took, but looking back I think that experience has made me more aware of the issues that some children and teenagers face when in a similar situation. I want to tell them to cling to God no matter how bleak their circumstances are at the moment; and I want to encourage them to never give up, to look up and to look ahead. 

Although I regret some of the “forks” I had taken, I need to stop feeling guilty and sad.  I think discouragement happens when we focus on our past and lose sight of everything else.  I need to “look up” and “look ahead”— to fix my attention on God and to concentrate on the future. 

“For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you….

Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.” 

(Proverbs 2:6-11, 20)

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

What’s in a name?

I have been married for almost 29 years, and in a way, I will be celebrating my 29th birthday in November. Twenty-nine years ago I changed my last name.

A lot of women change their last name when they get married, but I sometimes feel like I am not like most women. I didn’t want to change my last name. I wanted to keep it because it was who I was— it was “me” and I knew all about “Teresa Watson.”

I told my new husband that I wanted to keep my last name, but he insisted that I take his name. I didn’t like the idea so I suggested that I use a hyphenated name—this way I could still retain my personal identity— I would still be “me.”

Again, he strongly insisted that I take his name and leave my maiden name behind. I was very upset. I felt very much like a captive at that point— living someplace unfamiliar to me (Florida instead of California) and then having my name changed.

In a way, I can understand how Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah must have felt. Not only were they brought to Babylon, but their names were changed: “The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar, Hananiah was called Shadrach, Mishael was called Meshach, and Azariah was called Abednego” (Daniel 1:7).

I was in unfamiliar territory, both physically and mentally. Mentally, I had no idea who “Teresa Trascritti” was.

In addition to the new name and new location, I was also a new Christian. Again, I think about how names were changed in the Bible, but in the light of Christ, the name changes were positive, not negative. In John 1:42 it says, “Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).”

In the book of Genesis God changes the name of Abraham and Sarah: “I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham… God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah”” (Gen 17:5 &15, NLT).

I used to see my “forced” name change and relocation as something terrible, but now I realize that God had to rebuild me. My previous form was damaged and corrupted, but because of Christ I became a new being so it was fitting to have a new name— a new identity. In a way, I was being rebooted by God.

It has been almost 29 years since I have had my new name. I have learned so much during that time. God has formed me into the person I am today—someone who I hope is supportive of her husband, loving to her family, and appreciative to her God.

I really don’t miss the “old Teresa” anymore; in fact, I like the new one much better—“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [she] is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (1 Cor 5:17, NKJV).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti