Everything we do is a choice. Our choices shape our future. Our choices affect those around us. Choices have unforeseen consequences. One choice can change your life forever. It is just as easy, however, to make small choices that lead towards the same life-changing alteration. And you can always make the choice to change, no matter how far down a path you have gone.
Why the musings on choices? I was recently introduced to an Indie film titled "Ink" which illustrates the impact of our choices and how a single decision can cause an explosive chain of events as one link sparks the next into action. I won't actually discuss the film per se because it should be watched before discussed, but I'd like to ramble for a few lines on the general topic of choices.
Some choices are simple and may not seem to hold much sway over your future such as what you eat for breakfast or how many movies you watch. Other choices have a very visible impact such as deciding on a school or a new career or a vocation. All choices, large or small, do guide the path of your life. As human beings we were granted the gift of Free Will; it is up to us to choose our fate. Of course, with the grace of God, these choices can be easier (or at least more bearable.)
Everyone knows that you can choose to have a good or a bad day. You can defy the discouraging and depressing vibes of the world around you and still go about with a smile on your face. Or you can choose to join the ranks of sad and lonely people. You can choose to join in someone's anger or revenge, or you can choose to attempt changing their point of view. You can choose to hide away from the world, or you can choose to step out of your comfort zone and become part of the world. Regardless, choices have consequences. If you experience a great sorrow, you can choose to accept it and move on or to seek revenge on whoever caused the sorrow. Just remember that two wrongs do not make a right. Do not let the ill choices of someone else dictate how you choose to live your life.
Similarly, we can ourselves help guide the choices of those around us. Ladies, your presence can lessen the foulness of language in the near vicinity. Gentlemen, your presence can lessen the amount of fear in a potentially dangerous situation. By setting an example in our own lives, we can be a positive role model for our family, friends and co-workers. St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." This statement applies to our entire life. If we uphold the moral standard and strive to lead a holy life, we will stand out amidst the immorality of modernity. And the more people are willing to choose the truth, the more our country and world will benefit.
Finally, never underestimate the power of a genuine smile. Even if your personal life seems to be in a forever downward spiral and the Devil is getting the upper hand, smile. The Devil doesn't understand how we can have joy in the midst of suffering. And you never know how much worse someone else's situation may be. You might just be dealing with a broken dishwasher while they're coping with a sudden death in the family. And remember, on the flip-side of all this, just because someone scowls at you across the hall or down the grocery aisle, it doesn't mean they're angry at you. They're probably just having an off-day and forgot to choose to smile. So smile back and say a quick prayer for them.