“It is our choices ... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
“I choo-choo-choose you!”
Ralph Wiggams – The Simpsons
“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”
I’m in a bit of a crisis mode today. Things are potentially difficult and I’m not sure what’s going to happen. At the same time, things are potentially good and I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I feel like a fireman or a soldier who is on high-alert status. As I always say, the details don’t matter. All that matters is how I handle the details.
It’s important as I go through my day, that I remember the following:
I always have access to God.
Gratitude is a powerful tool for fighting fear.
It is, at this time especially, important to keep my goals physically and literally in front of me.
Fear is normal in uncertain times, but I don’t want to spend too much thinking about fear.
It is important to do the things I have chosen to do, such as write my blog, do my job, and take care of the people and responsibilities in my life.
And there it is. There is the word I need. There is the idea.
Before I tell you what word I am referring to, I want to share, what just happened here on this very page.
Often when I write, I come to the keyboard with absolutely no idea about what I’m going to say. Yet I come here as an act of worship, as an offering of love to God, the world, my friends and family, and myself. I also come here as an act of self-discipline.
I am not the most self-disciplined person in the world. Doing this blog, especially when there seem to be few benefits requires more self-discipline than I am used to exercising. But I don’t always come here with an urgent message or a sense of passion or any prompting from the Muse. I simply come here because it is something I have chosen to do.
And that, as they say, is the word of the day – chosen. I have chosen to do this blog and I have chosen to write every day. Now I know that I don’t write every day. But it is still what I have chosen to do. It is still my expression of love and gratitude to God and the world, to my friends and family and to myself. Yes, I know I already said that, but it bears repeating.
Writing is one of my gifts, but it is a gift I am obligated to share with the world. It is a gift I give back to God by being here every day. It is a gift I share with people I know and don’t know. And it is a gift to myself, not only as I am writing, but also afterwards, when I feel peaceful and strangely good about myself and I don’t know why. It is “the gift that keeps on giving.” One of the ways that it keeps on giving is when I look at some of my previous writing and I genuinely enjoy my work. This is not vanity. This is just recognition and acknowledgement of this gift.
It’s important to remember that this gift was given to me so there’s no point in bragging that I’m a good writer. The ability was given, which means it came from another source greater than me. I can claim nothing. Paradoxically, I’m still responsible to use, strengthen and develop this gift. That is the only thing I can take credit for – the work that I do. Everything else, before and after, are just gifts.
So let me go back to that word – chosen. I have chosen to do this. I could choose a number of different things. Some of those choices might even be good, but sitting here and writing seems like the only, truly wise choice.
This is really what life is about – the choices we make. And the choices we make often determine our destiny and our happiness.
For better our worse, I have learned that there are only two things I can choose – my actions and my attitudes.
The actions I choose will determine my future. If I choose to work, to plan, to save, to love, to get up a little earlier, to study, then I am determining tomorrow, next week, next year and the rest of my life.
The attitude I choose will determine my present. If I choose to be peaceful, to pray, to smile, to pay attention to others, to listen, to be kind, to forgive, to take action, then I am determining (and living in) this very moment.
I can choose nothing else. I can’t choose the weather, politics, other people or traffic. I can only choose to be here now. That, along with my actions, is the only thing I have ever really had any choice over. But what great choices they are. How much power they give me! How much strength! And how grateful I am for the ability to make these two choices. By choosing the right attitudes and action, I am creating a more loving and harmonious world. I am creating more happiness and self-confidence, for myself and those around me.
That’s all for now. I have a lot to do, but only two choices. Now it’s time to Get Started and to Keep Going.