Today I thought I’d take a stab at something a bit different. Did you or your kids ever read those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? Well, that’s what today’s post is. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry. It’s fairly self-explanatory. Just make sure you actually choose and follow the different options. If you read it straight through, it won’t make much sense.

Sarah Gets Dumped on Her Wedding Day

Like most little girls, Sarah dreamt about this moment all while she was growing up. As she stood next to her father, dressed from head to toe in white, she couldn’t help but crack a nervous grin as the man she would have and hold for the rest of her life took his place in front of her.

Sarah hadn’t the faintest idea that her entire future was about to take a turn for better or for worse, and that the level of happiness to follow would depend on what she did in the moments that were about to take place.

Halfway through the ceremony, she looked across at her soon-to-be-husband Todd, who stood looking at the ground. Beads of perspiration had begun to collect on his suddenly wrinkled brow. Then, he looked up at her and shook his head. Her heart disappeared within her.

“Sarah, I’m so sorry. I can’t do this.”
All moisture disappeared from Sarah’s mouth. No, not here. Not now, was all she could think. He looked at her and frowned. “I’m sorry.”
Sarah never really knew what happened directly after that. She found herself running through a sea of ever-loudening mumbles and gasps, seeking solace anywhere that would would offer cover. She held back the tears as long as she could, and when she found herself completely alone, she could keep them in no longer.
Pandemonium followed her and quickly disrupted the silence. Images of her younger sister, her best friend, her mother, and her father somehow made their way through her disrupted vision. Statements of anger, confusion, resentment, and disgust kept floating unabsorbed past her spinning mind.
The rest of the day seemed to disappear from her life altogether. She spent the next several days mourning her situation, lost in a blanket of tears, hardly consolable by even her closest of allies. Nobody faulted her for that.
But then, when her eyes had run themselves dry, and far too much ice cream had been eaten, Sarah had a choice to make.
>> If Sarah decides to let herself get lost in her anger about what happened, go to “A”.
>> If Sarah decides that Todd dumping her was a blessing in disguise, go to “B”.
A. Truth be told, Sarah was more than upset. What Todd had done to her was wrong, and she wasn’t going to simply let it slide.

The next several weeks were spent on the telephone, on Facebook, texting her friends, and going to social gatherings. Todd was the topic of almost every conversation, and it seemed that everybody wanted a piece of it. Sarah loved how much everybody suddenly hated this man, and she made it her goal to destroy him every chance that she was given.
Sometimes Sarah felt twinges of remorse for her actions, but they were quickly swallowed up in the memory she now shouldered, standing in front of the Preacher, watching Todd frown while he told her how sorry he was. Yeah right.
And, one night, when she had no one there to blanket her misery, the frustration and hurt hit her anew, perhaps harder than it ever had before.
>> If Sarah decides that she is going to get her revenge, go to “C”.
>> If Sarah decides that her negative energy is only hurting herself, go to “D”.
B. This was not going to define her. No way, no how. She was better than this. She was better than Todd. She decided she had dodged a bullet and that she would try to be thankful to Todd for that.
Sarah spent the next weeks of her life setting up as bright a future for herself as she could. She refused to let the thoughts of what happened ruin any happiness she was starting to feel.
And she somehow was starting to feel a lot of it. The more she got lost in her belief that she was happy, the more genuinely she felt it. Life was going to be good for her, and nobody could tell her otherwise.
Things really started clicking for Sarah, and with time she realized something. Even with this newfound happiness, she was still holding onto pain from what happened.
>> If Sarah combats the pain with kindness toward the man who gave it to her, go to “E”.
>> If Sarah has a hard time letting go of that pain and uses it as an excuse not to love again, go to “F”.
C. And so, she gave into the most hurting side of herself, and she decided she would have her revenge.
The first thing she did was login to his Facebook account. What an idiot, she thought. I can’t believe he hasn’t changed his password. She updated his status declaring to the world some of Todd’s darkest secrets… secrets she knew she was the only one privy to. She then went to some of Todd’s “hottest” female friends and wrote something horrible and mean on each of their Facebook walls.
Smiling, she logged out and contemplated what else she could do to exact her revenge. She grabbed her phone and sent a mass-text to all of the man’s siblings and parents, telling them some of the hurtful things Todd had said in confidence about each of them. She immediately got a text back from Todd’s brother that said, “what Todd did was wrong, but you trying to destroy him is more wrong.” She stared at it for a while, and then…
>> If Sarah gets even angrier, go to “G”.
>> If Sarah realizes that she’s gone way too far, go to “H”.
D. Yet, after sitting and thinking about it for a while, she realized something. She was only hurting herself. Deep down, she knew that no matter how angry she became, the only one that was being affected long-term by that anger was her. And so, she stood up, picked up a photograph of Todd, and spoke words to it that she knew needed to be said. “Todd, I forgive you. I know you did something that hurt, but ultimately it was the best thing for both of us.”
It felt liberating. It felt good. It felt like she suddenly controlled a lot more of herself than she believed she did.
With her sudden empowerment, Sarah quickly went through her home and put everything “Todd” into a box, taped it shut, and shoved it to the back of a closet she rarely entered. “Good bye Todd,” she declared as she shut the closet door.
The weeks that followed were magical. Sarah began to feel the warmth of the sun shining down on her skin again. She began seeing beauty where it had all but disappeared. And… she met someone.
He was tall. Yes. He was dark. Yes. And oh, was he handsome. His name was Seth, and from everything she could tell, he was a good man. Sarah’s heart leapt through her chest when his name flashed across her caller ID, only a day after they had first exchanged numbers. She picked it up, unsure of how to present herself.
The two of them babbled back and forth in nervousness for a few minutes, and Seth finally asked the question she didn’t know if she wanted to hear. “Can I take you out on Friday night?”
>> If Sarah says no because she’s too scared of being hurt, click here. (I)
>> If Sarah says yes even though she’s hesitant, click here. (J)
E. And, Sarah wasn’t okay with that. She knew that hurt and pain would ultimately get in the way of her own ability to be happy, and so she did the only thing she felt would work. She decided to show kindness to the man who had caused all of these moments of sadness and anger.
The first thing she did was pick up the phone and dial-up Todd’s number. He sounded hesitant when he picked up the phone, obviously braced for an earful. Instead, he only heard a sweet voice. “Todd, I just want you to know I am not angry and I forgive you.”
And with that, it was done. All heaviness inside of her vanished. And she knew by the sudden weight lifting off of her heart that she had been sincere when she said it. She wished him the best of luck in life and ended the call. Suddenly, her quest for happiness seemed even more real. Her belief in the future seemed even more possible. And her anxiousness for good things to take place rested solidly in the front of her mind.
It wasn’t too long after the call that opportunity presented itself in the form of a very good looking man coming into her life. His name was Seth, and they had exchanged numbers at a party. His name flashed across her caller ID much sooner than she had anticipated. She picked it up, unsure of how to present herself.
The two of them babbled back and forth in nervousness for a few minutes, and Seth finally asked the question she didn’t know if she wanted to hear. “Can I take you out on Friday night?”
>> If Sarah says no because she suddenly realizes she’s too scared of being hurt again, go to “I”.
>> If Sarah says yes even though she feels sudden hesitation, go to “J”.
F.  And suddenly, Sarah found herself doubting that she could actually achieve this happiness that she was setting herself up for.
The more she looked at the pain, the more it started coming up to the surface again. She went about her life, trying to force herself not to think about it. She buried it every chance she had, and only took occasional glances at it.
She truly wasn’t angry at Todd anymore, but the longer she went, the more she realized she might not ever be able to love again, at least the way she once had. Time slowly began wrapping heavy chains around her heart, and with it, suffocated her belief that she could truly be happy.
Then, one day she met a man named Seth. He was a handsome man, a fact she couldn’t deny. Perhaps too handsome. He was charming, he was witty, and he was intelligent. They exchanged numbers at a party and Sarah was hesitantly excited when her phone rang with his name flashing across her caller ID the next day. She picked up the call, unsure of how to present herself, and unsure if she even wanted to bother.
The two of them babbled back and forth in nervousness for a few minutes, and Seth finally asked the question she had been dreading. “Can I take you out on Friday night?”
>> If Sarah says no because she suddenly realizes she’s too scared of being hurt again, go to “I”.
>> If Sarah says yes even though she feels the pains of a locked heart, go to “N”.
G. Sarah grew enraged. She looked at the phone and started typing a text back as fast as her fingers would let her. She told Todd’s brother off, and then sat with the phone in her shaking hands. The jerk never replied back. Her anger began to boil over, she lifted her phone again, and she continued her rampage with others.
The weeks that followed brought nothing but more opportunity to play her part as victim and to destroy this man that had promised to love her forever.
At one point, Todd even had the audacity to call her and ask her to stop. She told him she wouldn’t stop until he suffered as much as she had. They screamed at each other. One of them hung up on the other. She continued in her quest of destruction.
>> If Sarah remains bitter and angry, and finds herself pushing all good men aside in her effort to never be hurt again, go to “O”.
>> If Sarah gets so angry that even her closest friends don’t want to be around her anymore, go to “P”.
H. Sarah felt tears start to form. She had gone too far, and she knew it. She stared at the blaring message on her telephone. It cut her to the very core. She was a good and a happy person. This was not her. What was she doing?
She texted back. “I know. I’m sorry. You won’t hear from me again.”
She took the next hour to herself, sitting in complete silence, thinking about life and what she wanted to happen next. She didn’t like the way she had been feeling. She didn’t like what she had done.
>> If Sarah decides that her negative energy is only hurting herself, go to “D”.
>> If Sarah tries to let go of what happened, but closes herself off emotionally to others, go to “O”.
I. Sarah swallowed hard. Instantly, images of the love she shared with Todd flooded her mind, accompanied by the hurt that still lingered.
She told Seth, “listen, I’m still really hurt from another relationship I just got out of. I don’t think I can do this right now.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone for what seemed an eternity. The longer it lasted, the more sure she was that she couldn’t handle such things in her life right now. Self-preservation was the name of the game. Finally Seth spoke. “Okay. Well, I wish you the best of luck with that.” He was obviously feeling rejected. The call ended, and she sat in silence for a few minutes, angry at herself for what just happened.
>> If the opportunity disappears and she learns from it, vowing to not let it happen again, go to “S”.
>> If the opportunity disappears and she declares that she can’t do it and that all men will break her heart, go to “T”.
J. Sarah swallowed hard. She didn’t know if she was ready for this. There was still a gaping hole in her heart, and her fear was demanding that she make an excuse to get out of it.
“Count me in,” she said, hardly believing the words that had just come out of her mouth.
She hung up the phone, giddy and excited, thankful that she hadn’t listened to the voice of fear. This was going to be fun, she thought.
She went shopping during the week and picked out an outfit that made her feel sexy. She spent Friday dolling herself up, nervous and excited the entire time. Seth showed up, exactly when he said he would, and damn he looked good.
>> If the date is a smashing success, go to “U”.
>> If the date didn’t end well, go to “V”.
N. Sarah swallowed hard. She didn’t know if she was ready for this. There was an ever-growing, ever-gaping hole in her heart, and her fear was demanding that she make an excuse to get out of the invitation.
“Count me in,” she said, hardly believing the words that had just come out of her mouth.
She hung up the phone, feeling both trepidation and excitement, thankful that she hadn’t listened to the voice of fear that had truly been consuming her of late. I’m going to have fun, she tried to convince herself.
She went shopping during the week and picked out an outfit that made her feel sexy. She knew confidence would be key if it wasn’t going to be one giant disaster. She spent Friday dolling herself up, nervous the entire time. Seth showed up, exactly when he said he would, and damn he looked good.
She gave him a quick half-hearted hug, trying not to let her nerves show, and off they went.
>> If the date is a smashing success, go to “U”.
>> If the date didn’t end well, go to “V”.
O. Sarah never could quite let it go. The hurt she’d felt when she got dumped would be with her forever. After time, she ran out of people who wanted to hear it, so she just kept her anger and frustration inside of her.
In the years that followed, she carried a chip on her shoulder. She put up a barricade and closed herself off emotionally to the idea of love or romance. She was determined to never be hurt again, and she new that relationship abstinence was the only way. If she never opened her heart to love again, she would never again have to feel her heart be broken. And she rather preferred it that way.
Many men came and went from her life. Some of them were good men. In fact, some of them were really good men. And every one of them left. Every one of them gave up on her. Every one of them wanted something different or better. And every time it happened, something inside of her got more bitter and more loathing toward men.
Over time, she completely forgot what love is.
>> Go to “W”.
P. Sarah refused to let it go. She refused to drop it. She chose to bring it up in almost every discussion, every venue, and every opportunity she had. She hated that man, and the hate found such deep roots within her that it ultimately consumed her.
With time, her friends began to disappear. She never fought their departures because she knew exactly why they didn’t want to be around her anymore. She was a bitter and damaged woman. Her energy was infectious, and she spilled her baggage onto everyone with whom she came into contact.
With time, Sarah found herself truly alone. Opportunity to meet other people disappeared from her life as fast as her friends did. Even her family distanced themselves from her.
Sarah never approached happiness again, and over time, she completely forgot what it meant to feel the most special of things that humans feel.
>> Go to “W”.
S. She never gained the courage to call Seth back, and it was enough of a loss to her that she vowed she would not let such an opportunity pass her by again.
With time, other good men found their way into her life. Every time they did, she remembered the vow she had made. Unless there was a good reason not to, she always accepted the date.
And with even more time, two things happened. First, she more or less forgot about Todd and the day he all but destroyed her life. Second, she met a man who was far better than Todd in so many ways. He loved her, and she was able to freely love him. This man got down on one knee, put a diamond ring on her finger, and then carried through with his proposal.
Sarah found her love, and she found an incredible man to be her husband. Todd became nothing but a distant memory that she often found herself laughing about, eternally thankful that he did what he did.
>> Go to “W”.
T. She never gained the courage to call Seth back. She took the frustration that she felt within herself and declared that she would never be able to do it. She knew that letting any man in would leave her with only one option. Another broken heart. Another disaster.
With time, she somehow grew more and more anxious every time the opportunity to date a man presented itself. She somehow found herself finding and pointing out the worst things she could about men, and truthfully, all men became deserters, heart-breakers, and jerks to her.
She was in and out of failed relationships for many years to come. She never found her Prince Charming, and she never felt true love the way she had with Todd. While she felt she had let Todd go long before, she never could patch the hole he had left behind.
Sarah was never truly happy again, and over time, she completely forgot how much she used to love the concept of love. Others would say she forgot what love even is.
>> Go to “W”.
U. Sarah would never forget that first date with Seth. She swore she wouldn’t, but she fell in love with him right away. He was a good man, genuine, and caring. He listened, and he had a sense of humor that kept her laughing all night long. It took her almost no time at all to forget everything that had happened to her, and in all reality, to forget Todd.
The date ended, and before Seth could even finish asking her out for a second date she enthusiastically agreed.
The second date came and went, and was just as incredible. So incredible, in fact, that things never slowed down again for Sarah and Seth. They fell so deeply in love with each other that eventually Seth found himself on his knee, asking for Sarah’s hand in marriage.
She didn’t have to think twice. She blurted out a triumphant “YES,” never even pausing on the fact that she’d been down this road before and that it hadn’t worked out so well the first time.
And because she never looked back, she was truly happy and content with her life. She was able to trust a good man who wanted nothing more than to be everything she needed him to be.
The two exchanged vows, nobody dumped anybody, and to this day they are together. Also to this day, Sarah is so thankful that Todd did what he did.
>> Go to “W”.
V. The date with Seth was fun, but it didn’t lead to anything. He was a good guy, but ultimately not as good a match for her as she originally would have thought.
They hugged and departed, both saying maybe they could do it again sometime, both knowing they probably wouldn’t, and both being okay with that.
And even though it didn’t work out, Sarah was still so thankful that she agreed to go. All it took was one good date with a good guy for her to realize that her heart was still beating and that she had nothing really to be scared of anymore.
The future became bright for Sarah, and she saw it only as such. More guys came into her life. More of them didn’t work out. But one day she found the guy. The one that really could make her laugh forever, be there through the rough and the happy, and who would only leave her speechless in good ways.
She never did know what happened to Seth. All she knew was that the pain of the past seemed to leave in the car with him. And that is what let her move on in her life and come to gain everything that now made her happy.
>> Go to “W”.
W. And that is the story of Sarah, a beautiful woman who got dumped on her wedding day.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d love to hear your experiences with what the power of thought and the expenditure of energy (good or bad) has done for you or others after bad things have happened. Chuck Swindoll said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Do you believe that?
Also, I’m just curious. What was the very first story you read today? Which path did you choose to go down? Do you think that says anything, and if so, what does it say?
You’re a rockstar.