Saturday, January 14, 2012

Choice Is a Powerful Thing.

My Sunday school class is a great group of women at various ages and stages of life. Our lives are just busy enough to keep us from really digging into a book or some other long-term study, so this month we started considering a list of questions posed by a spiritual mentor in the church.

Her one question this week led us on all sorts of great "rabbit trails" for conversation. One piece of the conversation that has stuck with me was about choices.

One person said she had been in a setting where people were asking a fairly popular life-purpose question like "What would you do with your life if there were no roadblocks - money, etc.?" She was struck by how many people mentioned things that were fairly easy to do - take up a sport, for example. Now, sure, some sports can be expensive once you buy gear and find the time and a place to participate. But if you want to learn to play tennis or take up the piano, it isn't too much of a stretch to say you could find someone to teach you, work out the costs, maybe sacrifice here or there to make it happen at some point.

I think it some times comes down to choices. If I choose to do (a) then I am choosing NOT to do (b) or (c).

I have a couple young friends who are apply to graduate schools right now. Frankly, I am jealous. I would love to go back to school, maybe get a PhD or another Master's degree. And these ladies have some freedom in where they are applying to graduate school, and therefore have some flexibility on the program they are pursuing. They can really zero in on a program and a place that can help them get where they want to go.

When I went to graduate school (many, many years ago, it seems), I applied to one school - not because I didn't want to try other options, but mainly because I had already made a more significant choice. I was getting married. My husband was going to be in a particular community because of his work. So by choosing him, I also - by default - chose my graduate school.

Sure, I would like to go back to school. And I could do it tomorrow if I really wanted to. When I start to list the reasons I'm not pursuing that, they all boil down to the fact that I have chosen to put other things first.

Last year my "one word" was choose or choice. This was a powerful word for me because it was a reminder of how much control I have in some aspects of my life. It works in this grad school situation, too. I am not a victim of circumstances that are depriving me of this dream of going back to school. I am an active participant. I have made choices to put other things first at this time in my life. I get to choose, and there is contentment in that.

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