A: ALWAYS Integrity
I believe integrity will see you through anything. Be who you are, be true to yourself, be honest with yourself and others in whatever situation you may be.
Ironically, if I’d had to describe myself or the person my parents had taught me to be prior to 2009, it would have been that I was a person of integrity. Yet there I was, my entire life, family, past, future, reputation, destroyed by a man the complete opposite of that. And I’d never known that or seen that.
I never, in my life, thought integrity would be a challenge for me. However, I was shocked at some of the thoughts that came to me, to abandon my integrity, out of sheer desperation for my circumstances.
The day the U.S. Marshalls came to inventory my possessions for seizure was one of those days. While waiting for them to arrive, I actually had the thought to hide some of my jewelry. (Not that I’m a big fan of jewels. I saw my jewels simply as an asset that could be sold to help me feed my children in my desperate circumstances.) I was shocked at the thought! I was an honest person, I couldn’t believe that thought had even crossed my mind.
I dismissed it, briefly waged a silent battle within my own mind, and quickly came to the determination that I was not going to let someone else’s lack of integrity cause me to lose mine! I’d rather starve to death! (Which at the time I didn’t consider a remote possibility–I thought that’s where I was headed.) I’d also love to say that’s the only time I had that thought to be dishonest, but interestingly, I was presented with another opportunity to choose integrity regarding my jewelry within a few weeks of that initial challenge, and I had to decide, AGAIN, to choose to have integrity! Once again, I decided my integrity was worth more than anything to me.
I decided, as did the mother of Cornelius in ancient Greece, that my children were to be my jewels! My ONLY jewels. And I’m ok with that.