“When you can’t have what you choose, you just choose what you have.” (Owen Wister) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
Life is full of choices, but many times we cannot have what we would prefer to choose. Sometimes we feel like we’re “stuck” with what we have, instead of being thankful and happy that we have anything. One has only to watch the nightly news to see stories of people who have no choices and/or have nothing. If that gives you pause to say to yourself, “There but by the grace of God go I”; at least you’re in the right ballpark, but maybe no yet on the right track.
As a society we have become enamored of the basics of life, taking them for granted. I get a kick out of the news stories were people are proclaiming that they have a “right” to this or that, whether it be clean water or electricity for their home or the many other things that people believe are somehow “owed” to them. Somehow the things that we should be thankful for have become expected, even proclaimed as rights. Even the rights that we have that were enshrined in our Constitution were extended to us by the consensus of the people at the time they were written and were not somehow innate.
There is nothing wrong with choosing to try to attain something that we currently don’t have, whether it is more education, more money, more possessions or new relationships; but we cannot just choose to have them. One choice that we must constant make in life is whether to be happy with what we have now, even while perhaps striving for more or newer or bigger or better somehow. I have learned from experience that the attainment of most of those strivings brought much less satisfaction or joy than I initially imagined it would. It’s just another thing or a bigger thing; but still just a thing.
The really rewarding attainments in my life came out of new friendships or new relationships. Perhaps the most rewarding of all comes from continuing to choose what I already have – a marriage that celebrates 50 years of choosing each other this year. I think the trial period on that is over and I’ll keep that relationship and choose to be thankful for it every day.
The other big choice in my life that really worked out was choosing to allow Jesus into my life. Sure, I went through the period of doubt or disbelief that most people do in their youth. I went through the “Going through the motions” period, too; where going to church was more of a social event or just another task to get through at the end of the week.
Then I had my “Come to Jesus” moment, as most people eventually do and my life
changed forever. Mine, as happens with many, came at a very dark time in my life, when hopelessness and despair were in control and I saw no future in living. At that dark moment I reached out in desperation and Jesus was there to reach back to me, take my hand and lead me out of that pit. I have found comfort ever since in the little prayer that I said that night – “Not my will, but thy will be done.”
I will never look back into that pit. I have made a different choice and I have chosen what I have in Jesus. You can, too. Try that little prayer and see if it doesn’t make a difference for you.
The choice is up to you.