Elul 7

Elul 7

#BlogElul – Choose

Ah, choices. I love the idea of choices. You know, when God gave everyone free will, and so we decide what happens in our lives and everything that occurs is entirely up to us? We have the choice to never open Pandora’s box – just don’t open it, that’s all. We have the choice to be with certain people or not be with them, to engage in fun activities or not, to foresee and avoid foreseeable problems, to be who and what we want to be and have happy, fulfilled lives. Right? And that’s what all of us do, right? We always make good choices, they work out well and life is definitely just one box of chocolates.

Well, OK, choices are limited by little things like reality and circumstances. Many people’s lives have huge limits, ones in which there are few choices, and those that are all seem awful. There are people who have never even seen a box of chocolates never mind live in one. This is a rough aspect of the world, one which stinks and makes one scream at God. Some set of choices You’ve given these people, huh?

You and I, however, we have choices. And you, you make the good ones. You picked the nice people whom you love to spend your life with, and you’ve picked a rewarding and interesting career. If it’s a matter of spending that bit of money or not, and your budget says not, you don’t spend it. You eat healthy and nutritious food, not the junk they sell at the end of the grocery aisle. You get your work done before you do any playing, keep your bed made, exercise (you’re probably training for a marathon) and floss daily. I’m pretty impressed by you.

I, on the other hand, stink when it comes to choices. Whatever you do, don’t give me something with a clear good choice and bad one, because that room is going to be opened, those limits are going to be broken, and as for those self made goals? Yeah, those ones. Sigh. I dunno. Every year, I declare that this is the year that habit and compulsion will have no hold on me, that I will make choices that facilitate my future and help me become a better person. Often, I actually put down the handful of junk food I’m holding at that time when I say this. My ability to stick to the plan, unfortunately, seems so strained by habit and compulsion as to be almost nonexistent. Far too often, I make crazy and silly ones instead, ones I wonder about after they happen. I know that I’m not unique. Others seem to also have a hard time choosing the right next thing. We pray to God, and that helps, we make lists and promises, use schedules and points systems, write out things and set timers, and that helps – but sometimes, we just fall back into patterns of non-functional behaviour.

Bad ideas seem so much easier to act out than the good ones! The sweetened cereal is tasty and easy to pour, the angry smash of fist on table is satisfying and instinctive, the computer game is colourful and filled with little tokens and awards.  God makes the bad choices so much more attractive than the good ones. God probably finds this funny.

So, I might as well find it funny too. If I find myself in circumstances I didn’t expect due to choices I probably shouldn’t have made, I can laugh about that and get on with the next choice. After all, my choices have led me here and here isn’t so bad. Maybe I wasn’t planning on these people, this career, or anything I ended up with. Maybe if I had made different choices I would have ended up somewhere else. Who says it would have been somewhere better, though? I seem to have some amazingly good things in my life. If I keep making bad choices, God keeps turning them into good ones. As Maria says in Sound of Music, “somewhere in my youth or miserable childhood, I must have done something good.”

I’ll keep making choices, then, good and bad, and keep enjoying the outcomes God brings from them, keep fighting the poor decisions in favour of the good ones (eventually, I’m sure I’ll get better), and see where I end up with next year. I’ll try to enjoy the result and be proud of it. People will tell me that my choices got me there, and then, I’ll start laughing uncontrollably, and they’ll wonder, “what brought that on?” I’ll just smile. Ah, choices.

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Posted on September 11, 2016, in Elul and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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