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Mar 24,   SusanDay on Being a Grandparent

29th Mar Discourse on Decisions

Today my angels have bubbled up into my thoughts an impulse to revisit the subject of decisions.  In my morning communion with them they pointed out that decisions are neither good nor bad, they just are.  That really surprised me. Because decisions usually result in apparently good or bad outcomes, I have always assumed that the decisions themselves were likewise good or bad.  But they pointed out to me that every decision, no matter what the outcome,   always results in some experience that is important to the development of the soul of the decider.  This is especially noticeable by outside observers if the experience involves something that will make or break the person’s dreams.

What if a person’s choice is to rob a bank, instead of get a job and save money to get what he wants?  Isn’t that always a bad choice? Until now I would have said yes.  But when he gets caught and sent to prison, there are experiences there that are important for his soul.  So, bad?  No. But unwise from a practical standpoint?  No doubt.  Had he chosen otherwise, he would likely have had other more pleasant experiences, perhaps a successful career, wife, family, etc.  However, that scenario is only viewable from the limited windows of the “what if” bus.

Some “ex-cons” tell stories of how their experience during incarceration has helped them realize where they took a wrong turn, and are ready to get back on the road to their dreams.  Thus they have clearly benefitted from their decision to enter a life of crime.  Others have not figured that out, and probably never will understand that they have the power in their hands to have a better life, merely by considering more parameters than just their own immediate short-term needs and desires.  They are more to be pitied than disparaged, because they are mired down in a hell of their own choosing. 

What about a person who instead is at a crossroads in their life path, and chooses the direction of least resistance or greater short term comfort.  In so doing, he may appear to have everything he wants at the moment. But by choosing that path he may lose sight of the opportunity to progress to heights he had never considered before. 

An example of this would be a high school graduate who chooses to get a job instead of staying at home and going to college or technical school.  This would allow him to be able to break away from his parents and start his adult life immediately. Of course, without any education or training, the job market would likely be limited to low-paying, entry level jobs, but he would be free to do what he wants.  So bad or good? No.  Unwise, probably. 

On the other hand, by staying home and going to school he would have to continue to endure his parents’ watchful eye.  In addition, it would also require sacrifice along with hard work, and would delay his start at adulthood and earning his own money.  But it would more likely result in a satisfying working career, and character-enriching experiences at college not available any other way.  Wise?  Most of us would say absolutely yes.

However, we are not privy to all the parameters that went into each of these decisions. Therefore, we may counsel them with the benefit of our own experiences, but we are not entitled to judge them.  No matter how they decide they will have experiences that will help mature their souls, and they will end up where they chose to be.

In short, this earthly life is a school where we have come to learn our lessons, and decisions are one of the ways that we expand our understanding.  We all know that we learn by mistakes, our memory banks are filled with them. What are mistakes anyway but decisions where we chose a path that took us somewhere that we did not intend to go?  Does that mean that we have to backtrack and get no benefit?  I believe that each place we go has something to teach us.  Sometimes the lessons are painful if they result from a poorly considered decision.  But then again, that same decision may lead to other real character-building opportunities.  In the end, all we are expected to do is to use our heads to consider every available parameter when making choices so that they are as wise as we are able to make them, and then seize the experiences and opportunities that arise as a result. 

To light the way as we make decisions along our life’s path,   we can always keep in mind that famous line from Robert Frost….”The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep....."

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