Choosing

My choices daily

seem so casual and small;

I spend so little time deciding how I live–

yet step by step,

and choice by choice,

I build a pattern

by which I

myself am known:

a lifetime choosing either death or life!

My friend, Dan Bagby wrote these words over thirty years ago.  I’ve keep them all this time.  And again I return to the realization that I think more about what I want to be and do rather than making daily choices that get me there.

Ten years ago I wrote these words: What do I do with feeling restless, wanting change?  Is that God or do I just want a dream and I need to make the best of what I have?  Do I just focus on the good that I have or do I actively seek change?

The answer to my questions is not an either – or proposition.  Like many questions I have, the sense making comes in the struggle and that struggling isn’t a one time occurrence.

Considering again Dan’s words, I am choosing– with each small moment that I live– even when the choices are not conscious. I do spend time thinking about how I want to live.  Deciding happens in the casual choices I make daily.

Ten years ago I also wrote three “to do’s:”

  • Rejoice always
  • Pray constantly
  • Give thanks in all circumstances

Again, it seems simple, but an affective stance that is difficult for me to maintain. The swing between hope and despair lately is a short ride.

Scott Russel Sanders in his book Hunting for Hope says

Hope is not prognostication.  It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.

My choices daily, casual or calculated or small or great, determine that orientation of my heart.  I like the idea of “muscle memory” here.  The notion that as you practice a certain movement you develop a physiological memory — a feedback loop that envelopes brain and body so that your brain tells your body knowingly, from memory,  what to do even after lapses in such activity.

So what will I be and do in this fine day that develops that pattern or orientation of joyful hope?

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