We are all connected. Every one of us. We have families, neighbors, friends, classmates, congregations, teammates, or possibly even fans or followers. There are phenomenons such as "Six Degrees of Separation" or what we call a "small world". We are so accustomed to this that we almost take it for granted.
Technology has made it possible for the world to get even smaller. As a college student, I made one telephone call a week to check in with people. My daughter - who is currently in college - and I connect by cell phone...or at least text message...every day. E-mail and social media like Facebook and Twitter make it possible for us to stay connected.
Perhaps in being connected, we stop thinking about how our decisions affect other people. We make an offhand comment...and do not realize that someone has taken it unfavorably. So, we offend people without meaning to...and because they decide to let it go...a brick is laid in a wall. More offense...more bricks. Eventually, you can't see over the wall...and no longer care enough to go around it.
Growing up in a small town...you quickly learn that a lot of people are related to a lot of other people that you wouldn't expect...so you'd better watch what you say. As we move on in life...we forget that. We express ourselves to people with belief systems like ours...often forgetting that we differ spiritually, politically, regionally, and emotionally...among others. Sometimes we have to choose to love each other in spite of rather than because of. It isn't easy...but it is a decision that often has unbelievable rewards. Just being friends with people like us limits us and our perspective. The decision to love those who are on the surface unlovable to us teach us to be more like Jesus.
Life presents us with opportunities every day to make decisions. A simple trip to Starbucks can be overwhelming to those who don't like making choices. What we eat, who we spend time with, and what we do for a living all impact the quality of our lives. And all of these came to be by a series of decisions we made either consciously or unconsciously through the years.
I have thought about decisions a lot in recent weeks. Perhaps it is because I have seen instances of very wonderful decisions and very poor ones up close and personal of late. Maybe it is because I am listening to election returns and thinking that somewhere in the state of Virginia...a lot of people went to the polls today as the result of decisions that needed to be made.
Decisions are what define us. Doing the right thing can bring us golden memories, and doing the wrong thing can bring us toxic ones. We love stories where everything lines up...because we know how easily everything can turn awry. Every love story we hear would have been different had one of the parties failed to give the other a chance...eventually. Every one of us has fleeting thoughts that wonder what our lives would have been like had we decided to do something differently than we did.
There are many important decisions that we make every day...but the most important one is whether we choose Life by trusting God. That one decision will not just affect how our life goes here...but how it will go when we leave.
Whether we choose to pick up the telephone and check on a friend, pick up our pens and write a few lines, or attend an event that will mean someone to know we are there are all decisions that we make every day...and hardly notice. So many of us spell love T-I-M-E.
As for me...I'm choosing to look at everything I do a little more critically. I don't always think about how what I do affects other people. There are so many decisions in life...that I suppose that I want to be more intentional about the decisions I make. As earlier stated...we are all connected. I want to make good decisions that bring people closer to God than careless ones with eternal consequences.
Here's hoping that the good choices prevail...