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?