November 7, 2014

In the early mornng hours I sit and pray.  It is a choice I make to meet with the God in whom I believe.  A time to exercise the faith He has given me to hope for better things, to hope for health, to hope for healing, to trust him for a day of blessing today and the assurance of his grace tomorrow.  I ask for these things because I know that I will be in need of them and most of which I cannot be assured that I can acquire them by my own means.


I know that I am not alone in this.  You are as aware as I am that this life is packed full of its difficulties.  The issues and problems that you deal with are diverse and specific to you and though different than mine, they are just as real.  We all have our own set of circumstances.  I am not alone as I sit and pray.  All over the world I am joined by millions who are doing the same.  Faith around the globe is rising Heavenward.  I make the choice to pray because I believe God is listening.  Among other things, I pray for Jesse.  Jesse has become such a flashpoint of focus in our family.  He is like ground zero, where everything in our lives began again on the day he beat death.  There was no surrendering that day, no surrendering to hope, no surrendering of faith, no surrendering of the will to live.  The fight was on, and we were all in it and Jesse, as broken as he was, like an infant soldier took his place to lead the charge.


Somehow in his ten month old then injured brain, he too made a choice that day.  I'm sure he didn't take the time to intellectually think it through but his instinct to survive was well intact.  In those hours there was no listing of pros and cons and there were no answers to his questions.  What will life hold for me?  Will I be strong enough to really survive this?  What if I can't be repaired?


I think a lot about choices.


They produce the lives we eventually live.  They create our futures.  I think of how it starts when we are very young.  There are the kids in school who make a choice to pay attention, study, and work hard, while others choose fun and popularity as their most important and highest goal.  In later grades there is the choice between study and a part time job, or parties and entertainment.  After high school there is either finishing with school to find some kind of work without too much specific direction in mind or investing in further education, again the choice that we all have faced.  Years later on some distant day that they both share we see the contrast in the outcomes of the multitude of small choices they have made along the way.  Two kids who chose separate priorities along life's path stand facing another set of choices, both of them with the relatively easy choice of the need for a new vehicle.


One must make the choice between a BMW, a Lexus, a Mercedes or a Cadillac Escalade while the other must choose between an eight year old Ford with rusted quater panels that he can get from his brother in law or a ten year old beater to be had for $500. from a friend or a friend's girlfriend.  Though I draw this sample comparison based on education and career opportunities that bring eventual prosperity or financial decline, it really is not just about the quality of life that money or career can bring a person.  The demand for choices that continually pound on our doors, and the ones that can greatly affect our world are the choices of our relationships, our habits, our goals, our character and the one that is possibly the greatest predictor of who we are and what we will become, WHAT WE BELIEVE!  What do we believe about ourselves, our life, and the world.  These three are the three greatest questions that pursue us for an answer like hounds after the fox and they neve surrender the quest for our answer.


Someone said, "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are."  It's an inescapable fact that you become like the five people you are in closest relationship with.  Note: Careful who you choose for friends. I have seen lives that have been devastated and torn apart by badly chosen "friends."  The voices we listen to make such an impact on our lives and often times on the choices we make.  I remember back in the weeks immediately following Jesse's accident when the medical community was pressing hard on our family to give up on our little man.  The battle to stay hopeful was a war being fought in our hearts.  The Paliative Care Team existed of about fifteen or more individuals with varying expetise.  There were doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, CAS workers, and of course neurologists.  Their weapons were the medical evidences  of Jesse's injury, case histories of similar children, and of course all their professional'credentials.'  All of which were inseparately attached to the looks of death on their faces.  Expressions of pity for us as though Jesse were already departed.  We heard their 'voices' in palliative care meetings every few days, highly intellectual and scientific presentations of why we should allow them to help Jesse pass.




We were busy listening to the voice inside us, usually a still small voice, but it was now screaming to us, "Don't let go! Don't give him up!  Don't agree with them!  Take him home!"  I spite of their words our hope, our faith and our confidence in God was soaring.  There was no dissuading us.  The choice made in those days to bring Jesse home and take up the challenge to do whatever we could to try to rebuild what was lost of him we have never regretted, although like all choices, there are consequences.


The word consequences usually brings with it definate negative connotations but that is not always the case.  Our choice to fight the fight alonside our boy has brought so many wonderful and surprising outcomes.  But the choices relentlessly pursue us every day, just as they pursue you.  It's been stated before that on just one hand, a person could count the choices that have charted the course of his or her life.  The decision of what career to choose, the choice to remain single or to marry, the choice of one's mate in marriage, the choice to settle near your family or move away from your family, the choice to have children or remain childless.  These are just a few that I can relate to.  Yours would certainly be different than these but nevertheless our direction and circumstance of life can usually be narrowed down and traced back to a select few decisions.  But more often than not the status of an individual's position in life with regards to career, relationships, family, purpose and personal fulfillment is determined by and large by a person's character.


And character as I see it is built or torn down by the thousands of choices presented to us each week of our lives.  It's in all the little almost unnoticed things.  To smile or to frown, to give a stranger an extra two seconds of your life to hold a door open for them, to lie or to tell the truth inspite of the cost, to give of yourself willingly or to withold, to forgive or not to forgive.  The list of little things goes on and on.  But the impact on a life, your life, and the lives of those around you can be profound.  However seeing the positive results of all the small but wise choices you make in life without question can prepare you for the big ones that are sure to come.


Tomorrow morning when the sun rises on another new day you and I will once again be forced to choose, to decide on this or that, to choose what to believe or what not to believe.  But don't deceive yourself and take the path of procrastination.  The age old cliche that 'Time waits for no man' is as true today as the day it was first spoken.  We cannot choose 'not to choose', for that too is a choice.  It's in our choices that the seeds of our consequences are planted.  And in our choices, the big ones and the small,

our futures are born.


Bob Arrigo

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