On making decisions, choices, and the way we look at things

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In her book, A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman was quoted as saying: “We carry the ocean within us; our veins mirror the tide.”

We might not realize it but life is, actually, all about making decisions. It has become a part of what it actually means to be human. Being undecided is, in itself, already making a choice by choosing to not decide over a particular thing or situation.

Everyone is entitled to demonstrate the freedom to make choices. Everyone has the right to choose to decide over something and nothing could take away such a capacity of a person to decide, to make a choice for his own self and that of other people as well. In other words, each one of us, no matter what our background and circumstances, are capable of making decisions.

Each one of us will always have a choice. Each one of us has the power to choose. We can choose to be happy, to love and feel loved, to not be afraid, to be full of hope, to be kind to your own self and to other people as well, to be full of confidence, to be an inspiration to others, and the list could go on.

When Nathaniel, my first born, came into this world some three years ago, I decided to choose to embrace fatherhood in my own way. And little did I know then that it would come to the point of putting my career on hold to become a stay-at-home dad to my son. Quality time is important and I have since had always made myself available to him.

I hope to see more men finding parenthood as meaningful as it could be which, in my humble opinion, could raise the status of fathers. It is about appreciating such a role and the delight thereof in having felt that being a good dad is a significant accomplishment in life. It could be a difficult choice to make for many fathers because it could often lead to a situation where they have to decide on trading career advancement for time with their family and as a way of valuing the fulfillment they have to find in fatherhood.

A SENSE OF PERSPECTIVE

Marcel Proust once said that the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes, which was echoed by Carl Jung when he said that it all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves. That there is a connection between how things are and the way we respond to them. Proust and Ackerman both suggest about changing our way of looking at things, which leads us to Wayne Dyer’s homespun wisdom, saying, that when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.

Many were the times I caught up Nathaniel misbehaving. As a parent, I always had a choice on how to respond to his misbehavior. It’s either I would get furious and yell at him, to see him as an annoyance, an embarrassment, or to take him by the hand and remove him from that particular situation seeing that he is still learning how to behave appropriately and needs my gentle but firm guidance. Of course, I have chosen to take Nathaniel by the hand, each time, and took him away from the situation.

Some parents I know used the distraction method which is to try to catch the child’s attention by joking with him to get to shift his behavior. They have chosen to see their child as having a tough moment there’s a great need for them to distract him. How we choose to see the behavior of our child may vary or is different, but this choice from which our important decision should be made concerning our child may dictate how we would respond to him which affects a lot on how he learns about the world.

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My beloved wife and our three-year-old son took time to pose for the camera during a sight-seeing moment with nature.

THE CHOICE

The following is an excerpt from the last chapter of Kim Reeder’s inspirational book “Hope Rising,” which tells about how her horse ranch in Oregon became instrumental in giving shelter and hope to broken children and as a rescue operation for horses as well:

 So much of our life seems to just happen. We have all shared moments of throwing our hands in the air in utter dismay of a raucous day’s offerings. Yet in reality, most of our life is what we choose for it to be. As violently as external forces push, we are still the master of our own will.

Difficulties, hurdles, hardships, whatever name we know them by, one thing is certain—they visit us all. No life is immune from suffering. As certain as we breathe, we will know pain. It is a shapeless void that shifts into as many faces as humanity itself. It has no sense of justice or timing. Like a wall of fire, pain rises where it chooses, consuming whatever it can. It is a famine that gnaws at the soul.

Mounting like impenetrable black fog, pain envelops everything—light, love, hope. It is a dark chasm of loneliness. It is a precipice of despair. It is a wailing child collapsed in a barren orchard.

The view from within this lifeless place is the same in any direction—it is all ash. It wraps around us like a black desolate ring encircling our impoverished soul. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It becomes the truest definition of being surrounded.

When our hope falls to its knees and takes it last gasp before death, there is an answer. It is simple. It lies free for every soul to choose. When you are surrounded, instead of anxiously looking from side to side, look up. Change your view with a new perspective.

Look up and see what the Maker sees. Instead of a destroyed circle, He sees a vital clearing where the light of truth can penetrate. Instead of a ring of ash, He sees previous snaring distractions burned into usable nutrients. Instead of barrenness, He sees a circle where something enduring can grow, something that is beautiful, something that is permanent.

God doesn’t see wild flames on every side lapping at our souls. He sees cleansing fire that consumes the dross of complacency. He sees heart tempered with strength, purified like gold.

God doesn’t see a descending black fog encircling its shrouded victims with the icy grip of despair. He sees a temporary veil that encourages faith to rise out of meandering convenience and be galvanized with power into a force that moves mountains.

God doesn’t see a hungry precipice yawning open to swallow us whole. He sees the perfect opportunity for hope to unfurl its wings and soar free over logic that tells us what is and isn’t possible.

Even the utter devastation of death’s finality before God is not final. It is His desire that our loss will embolden and motivate us to love those who remain with even greater passion and selflessness.

When we feel like we’re surrounded, it is only because we truly are—we are surrounded by His love.

It is true, the pain that we feel in this life is certain. What is equally certain is how we choose to feel about the pain. It can destroy us—or define us.

Like standing on a mountainous trail, we can choose which way to go. We can choose where we end up. When confronted by pain, we can choose to take the descending trail that most often leads to a dark and lonely place, pitted with mires of helplessness, hopelessness, despair.

Or we can select the ascending trail and, with some effort and perseverance, we can choose to allow our pain to motivate us toward becoming better people, to move us toward a better place. A place where love transcends selfishness, where faith bulldozes the “what ifs,” and where peace enfolds the heart like a warm blanket. It is a place where joy takes on as many faces as humanity. It is a place where flowers bloom in ash.

Like an unstoppable wave of light pouring over the horizon, it is a place where hope rises.

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