Reflections: The Point of No Return
The Point of No Return
By William L. Bulla
There are many times in our life when we must make decisions. Some of these decisions are very difficult. We may be called on to make decisions that not only affect our life but also those of our loved ones or other people. It could be a decision that may not be changed once it is made.
We all have these moments in our lives when we understand that something we are about to do may have a huge significance, and that once it is done we cannot undo it. We feel excited about it, but know we have passed the point of no return.
These may be career decisions or simply addressing important issue facing us in our lifetime. We know we need to take these steps and be decisive in doing so.
We must take a risk and accept the consequences. The "die is cast."
This expression is said to have come from a Latin phrase Julius Caesar is supposed to have spoken when crossing the Rubicon.
The river Rubicon marked the boundary between Italy and Caesar's province in Gaul. Crossing it with an army meant declaring war on Rome. When Caesar reached the river in 49 BC, he plunged his horse into its water and exclaimed, "Alea jacta est". ("The die is cast").
Moving his forces over the Rubicon into Italy violated the law that forbade a general to lead an army out of the province to which he was assigned. Caesar's act was a declaration of war against the Roman Senate. This action started the three-year civil war that left Caesar ruler of the Roman empire.
"Crossing the Rubicon" became a popular phrase describing a step that irrevocably commits a person to having passed a point of no return.
It is that point beyond which someone must continue on his current course of action, either because turning back is physically impossible, or because to do so would be prohibitively expensive or dangerous. It is also used in reference to travel when one has passed the halfway mark and to return would be a greater distance than the remainder of the journey.
Caesar made the decision to cross the Rubicon. The die was cast! He then took his army across. It was his point of no return. Today when an action marks a situation where there is no going back, when that "die is cast", we say the Rubicon has been crossed. There is no turning back.
Therefore, when faced with these decisions we must not act in haste. We must consider our decision and how they will affect others. We need to carefully and prayerfully consider the results before we commit ourselves. Once that commitment is made, there is no turning back. The "die is cast." We have crossed the Rubicon.
William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.