May 22, 2011
Every day we are faced with a vast number of choices. Some are easy some not so much. The thing that makes our lives worth living is the ability to make these choices for ourselves. Everyone may agree that there are right and wrong choices to make but there are also times when we have to decide between two rights or two wrongs. You know the term for that “Lesser of two evils”. One may feel that they have no choice rationalizing that “I have to eat or I will starve” or “I have to go to work or loose my job” in that, is the problem and the solution.
When we commit to making a decision we also commit to the consequences of that choice. You can choose not to eat but when you do you also choose to be hungry. You can choose to stay in bed all day and skip work but you then choose to have no job. Newton said “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” and that is the binding law of free agency. Consequences are not always bad sometimes that can be amazingly positive. For example, Watching “Price is Right” with my grandmother one day a woman chose to go to work on her 3rd day at the job. To her surprise the boss treated them to and outing to see the show. At the show her name was called and she won the first item they bid on, then the Game she played, spun $1 on the wheel for the $1000 bonus and then won the Showcase at the end. But what if she had chosen to stay in bed instead?
Other things that we do may not even be conscience decisions they are automatic based on our training, teachings, personality, etc. When you are in line at a store to you chat with people around you or avoid eye contact? Do react when you see someone in a restaurant choking or sit and watch. Many of these choices are made by you well before the situation occurs and turn on the autopilot when something happens. In my job due to my training I go into protect mode when a crisis happens when many would run from the area. Again this falls into trained auto response.
So why did I title this sermon as “Solutions” and not “Choices”? Because in my past I made a choice that I felt was the solution to my problems. Many others around the world have made a choice about a solution to their problems. In my case I backed out at the last minute and found that the Solution to my problem was not this one. Many others were not so lucky. This is a major problem as I see it, the urge to make a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Many different religions have their theories and beliefs when it comes to Suicides, but today I do not want to discuss what happens to the soul if someone were to commit such a final act but focus more on finding a better solution.
When I was younger I had many problems socially. I was also adopted and was number six out of seven children. The three oldest were the biological children of the family that adopted us and as such were given the “Get out of jail free card”. I seemed to fall into the black sheep category and everything was pushed off as my fault. I was “dumb, lazy, weak, loser, etc.” One day I finally hit the breaking point, life was meaningless and everyone would be better off if I were gone. Death was fine because nobody cares about me anyways and so no one is getting hurt. So there I stood on a roof looking down and just at that moment a thought. Why am I letting others control my emotions? Why should this be my only option? In a couple years I will be able to move out on my own so this is just temporary pain. With that I stepped back and my life took a new path. I was no longer concerned how others felt about me or what they thought. I made the choice at that minute to be happy no matter who said I was not worthy or good enough. Since then I have tried to help others see the path of ones life is never at an end. There are always other choices that are far greater than to take ones own life and, to never resort to using a permanent solution when the problem is only temporary. One of my favorite poems that I go back to is “Do not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas. You can read the full poem if you like but the lines that drive my life are: Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
My Friends, Mentors, Brothers, and Sisters this is what I am asking of you. Be a beacon of light to those that are down. Be that light for yourselves. Rage against the dying of the light and find solutions that bring hope to your life and others. Do not seek permanent solutions to temporary problems no matter how bad they appear to be. When we are together we stand strong. As a final note today I want to add that these solutions to temporary problems stretch out past just the drastic one I mentioned. It can fall into many other aspects of life as well. Church, School, family all have permanent solutions to temporary issues that may cause regret later. Take time think about what is happening and remember “Time heals all wounds”