We have opportunities to shape our futures but we don’t always have control over unexpected events. We would never consciously chose for ourselves-or those we love- to have a car accident, serious illness, job loss or be caught in an earthquake. But, even if the worst disaster strikes, we must never forget that we still always have control over our attitude toward that event.
When my parents died when I was 22, I had no choice whatsoever in the circumstance. However, I was faced with other choices…to seek the so-called comfort of drugs or the true support of friends; to be negative or positive; to look backward or forward. Although I had absolutely no choice surrounding the situation I found myself in, I still had a choice in terms of what attitude I adopted. I knew that whatever choice I made wouldn’t bring them back so simply chose to get on with my own life as best I could.
Admittedly, there were times when I doubted I would succeed in doing so but there is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that, which is lost by not trying. With no family to fall back on (or blame) I learned earlier than most that I was totally responsible for my own choices for the rest of my life.
I later learned that choice can be limiting or liberating; entrapping or empowering; can lead to inaction or pro-action. As humans we have the gift to choose the path we walk. Sometimes, we take the wrong road but the choice is entirely ours.
I’ve walked the beat with police as bricks were hurled at us; been called to an armed robbery, intervened in a domestic violence situation and sat for hours on a drug bust. Perpetrators of those crimes made different choices than me but I suspend judgement because I may have made the same choices-and give thanks that I didn’t.
Choices have given me more than my fair share of joy and sorrow. But even in my darkest moments, I remind myself to give thanks for that freedom to chose.
Give thanks for hot steamy showers-and icy cold drinks. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for sunshine-and snowflakes. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for powers of speech-and the peace of silence. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for super highways-and unmarked tracks. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for minds, which open-and zippers which close. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for water which runs-and time which stands still. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for towering pines-and gentle, clinging jasmine. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for symphonies-and surf. Give thanks for choice.
Give thanks for the laughter-and love-of family and friends.
They give us more choice!
Every day, I’m truly grateful for everything I have-like freedom and food. I’m equally grateful for everything I don’t have-like persecution, hunger and disease. Every day, I’m grateful for choice. Every day, it’s worth reminding ourselves that:
We always have more choices than we think.