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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Power of Choice

With Valentine’s Day's fast approach many book, magazine and newspaper articles as well as radio, television and internet stories will be about the romantic bliss we call love. And that’s wonderful. I love those stories when they are genuine and portray the reality of the human condition. (The “human condition” is not only about the bad. It can also be about the good and there is much good in human behavior if we only look for it.) In light of this, let’s think today about the power of choice—to love or not to love.

We have the amazing ability to choose good, transform life and in so doing, change the future. Years ago as a much younger pastor I left the hospital after visiting a parishioner and noticed I was in a particularly foul mood. I analyzed myself and my feelings. Why was I feeling that way? The visit with the parishioner had not been the cause. It had been pleasant and seemed to be productive. I had given encouragement and assurance of the love of God and the church, as well as me personally, what I shared had been well received.

As I walked to my car under heavily overcast skies, with a cold, biting, moisture-laden wind blowing off the partially frozen St Joseph River, I realized I had allowed weather conditions to dictate my attitude and emotions. I realized if this had been a warm Spring day with green grass, leafy trees, blooming flowers and a pleasant breeze blowing over sunlit, sparkling waters of the beautiful St Joseph River, I would have been whistling and in a joyful mood. So I chose to be happy! I discarded my sour mood and started to do the things I normally do when I feel good—whistling as I walked, smiling to myself, and thanking God for the beautiful world in which I lived. When I did, I noticed I felt so much better. The wind did not feel as cold and could even be described as refreshing. The clouds, that had been gloomy and cold, now gave texture to the wintery scene. Life was good! Just because I had chosen to be joyful!

I was amazed at how much my choice to embrace joy changed me and changed my attitude. That life-transforming experience taught me I could choose joy even when I didn’t feel it. I could choose love even when I didn’t receive it. I could choose happiness, even when I had not received what I wanted and what I thought would make me happy.

So as this Valentine Day approaches, if your romantic life is not all you would like it to be, I urge you to choose joy. If you’re single and would rather not be, embrace what is and rejoice anyway! If you don’t love your spouse as much as you did in years past and have the urge to stray, choose to love your spouse and give unconditional love—show it in whatever way you deem appropriate.

If you don’t think you can do that, if your situation is too discouraging and seems impossible, I urge you to seek God’s help. He can be an amazing help if we just ask, and He really does want to help you. God can help you change your attitude and love your spouse whether or not he or she deserves it. And being loved may help them deserve it. God can give wisdom to make good decisions about the future of all your relationships.

We have the power of choice! My prayer for you, me, and the entire world in this valentine season, is that we choose unconditional love for every person on this wonderful planet.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.
(Note: This article is a re-print from a Herald-Palladium newspaper "Insights" Column dated February 11, 2012.)

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