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December 2nd, 2016

Choices

By G. E. Shuman
One evening last week I had a great phone conversation with one of my five favorite adult children. (I have five adult children, and they are all my favorites.) Cathy occasionally calls me on a weekday evening, when her busy day is winding down, and mine is doing the same. I love conversations and meetings with all of my children, and learn something with every call or visit. I am, truly, blessed beyond measure by these wonderful people.

Somehow, during this particular call, Cathy and I happened to be chatting about the subject of choices. We reminisced a bit about her life, her choices, and where she is now because of, in spite of, or regardless of those choices that she has made over the years. We agreed that not all of her, or all of our family’s past choices had been for the best. I found it very interesting that, while we were both acknowledging that such choices, which seemed the best at the time, probably were not, she and I now realized that things really do have a way of working out. The puzzle pieces, somehow, ultimately seem to fit together, when the time is right for them to do so.

I have a feeling that most of that ‘fitting together’ happens because of a person’s growing maturity as the years pass. Experience really is the best teacher. The ‘good’ decisions we make today probably stem from lessons learned from yesterday’s ‘not-so-good’ ones. To quote one of my favorite poems, and then my very favorite book: “No doubt, the universe is unfolding, as it should.” (Desiderata). “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Holy Bible. Romans 8:28).

Our family is slowly, constantly progressing, as is yours, as this brand new year unfolds; while “the universe is unfolding, as it should.” New life arrives, youth flourishes, mid-life comes, older members make plans for an ever-shortening future, and the oldest of us become frail and eventually come face to face with the truth of: ‘And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgement.” (Heb. 9:27.) Every day of that progression is filled with choices, big and small, for all of us.

Last night was building up to be a busy one for me. My teaching day had ended, but I came home facing many pages of edits that evening, for an online company that I do such work for. It just didn’t look very promising for an early bedtime for me. Then, just after I had settled in for a few minutes rest in my recliner, my son, Andrew, bounded down the stairs, asking/announcing 5:40 or 6:30? I had no idea what he was talking about, until I realized that I had promised to take him to the new Star Wars movie that evening. (I think there will always be a new Star Wars movie.) I had forgotten about that promise. He had not. We had both already seen the movie, but both wanted to again, and had determined to go together. My first reaction was to try to ‘beg off’ going, and suggested that we wait a few more days. He is a man, not a child, and accepted that news well, but I could tell that he was disappointed as he went back to his room. A few minutes later, as I began my work, it struck me that Andrew really IS a man, and that my opportunities to just get in the car and take him to a movie may soon be coming to an end. With that, I got off the computer. Soon after, we were on our way to the early show.

I wanted to tell you about that ‘movie’ decision, only because in that situation I needed to make a choice, and I now know that I made the right one. It wasn’t a life-changing decision, but it was an important one, for me. The choice that I made was probably not the smartest one, and definitely made for a late evening when we got home. Still, it all worked out. Life went on. The universe continued to unfold, the next day came, and I had spent a great evening with my son. The next time such a choice needs to be made, the decision will be an easy one.

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