I went to church this morning. This was a good choice, as it gave me something to think about and starts this blog; it was also a dangerous one. What I thought was rain was in actuality ice. Ice that did NOT want to be scrapped off my windshield as it was thick, thick, thick. Standing in the icy rain trying to break through the layer of ice was not one of my finer moments. (Particularly when I tried to get into the car and put my foot on the "running board" which was covered in thick ice and my body went one way and my leg another. No falling, but close and not the best feeling in the world.)
However, I digress; part of the sermon today was on free will/choice. We all have choices. We make them every day. Some are easy, some are not. I remind my son if he wants to get a good grade, he needs to study for that test. If he doesn't, that's his choice. The results of that choice may be a bad grade and a very unhappy set of parents (as well as other consequences.) It's not necessarily a choice he want to make, but it is his choice.
Should I have a glass of wine? Do I need to go pick up the kid somewhere after that drink? If the answer is that I am at home with nowhere to go for the evening, then I see nothing wrong with having glass (or two). If the answer is yes, to me the choice is clearly no wine. I believe that is the right choice.
Sometimes making a choice is not so easy. When we think of peer pressure, we think of adolescents. Teens being urged to drink, to cheat on a test, to tease others. All to fit in and be one of the crowd. Making the choice to stand up for what you believe in, to decide what is right is NOT easy. Moreover, it doesn't just happen to those under the age of 21. Adults feel pressure too. To go along with the "norm." To not stand out from the crowd. The choice to stand by our convictions is often not an easy one.
I made what I thought was an easy choice recently. Disturbed by the all the craziness in our political system, I thought that it was time to disassociate with the party that I had aligned myself with when I first registered to vote. Even though I have always tried to vote with my head and heart and stand behind people and not a party, the idea of "leaving" was still a little bit off putting. But I put it out there. I blogged about it. And I believe that I have to stand behind what I write. (Even if I am at times wrong. And IF I am incorrect about something, I need to make the choice to admit that I was wrong.) I didn't just want to align myself with another party; not even a smaller party. I decided to be "unaffiliated." Getting the form to do so and filling it out was easy enough. The choice was easy, but following through was not so much. There was a sense of unease on my part. I'm not sure why. But I told myself that this was a choice that I had made and I it was the right one for me. And to my surprise, more than one person told me that they agreed with me. One person even told me that she decided to do the same! I believe that I have made the right choice for myself. I hope the person who decided to unaffiliate finds that the choice is right for her too.
We are faced with choices every day. Some easy; some not so. But what I think is important in making a decision is something that is simple, but not necessarily easy. And it is simply to think before making any choices or decisions. Many may have seen this:
Before making a choice, a decision or acting, THINK. It was perhaps most eloquently said by the man who was born 208 years ago today and who certainly made some of the most difficult choices a person has ever had to make: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."