One Sunday morning, when I was about eleven years old, my grandmother picked me up and took me to church with her. Religion was very important to my grandparents and they did whatever they could to foster that same love in their grandchildren. It didn’t stick as they would have liked but you can’t blame them for trying.
Anyway, this one morning, I arrived at Sunday School with only a few minutes to spare. There were only a few seats left so I picked one randomly and sat down. I happened to pick a seat beside a boy that I had known my entire life. We were not friends but had always been friendly. Or so I thought. As soon as I sat down, he got up and moved to another seat across the room. While I didn’t pay too much attention at first, I did wonder why he had moved.
The teacher came in right about that time and told the class that the lesson for that day would be on choices. He talked about how we face choices every day of our lives and sometimes we would have a difficult time figuring out what what choice we should make. He then said that, as an example, we made the decision of where we would sit when we arrived at class that day. The boy I had initially sat next to that morning said under his breath that he had chosen to sit somewhere else but had been forced to move. A couple of the kids in class laughed and I know he was referring to me. For whatever reason he had not wanted to sit by me and made the choice to embarrass me by moving and making that comment that everyone could hear.
Why am I telling this story? Mainly to demonstrate how our choices can affect others. The simple act of moving seats on that Sunday morning so many years ago is still impacting my life. I’m sure that boy doesn’t even remember that morning but I have never forgotten. Why was I not worth sitting next to for an hour? Was I not worth the courtesy of not having to hear a comment that could possibly hurt my feelings?
That teacher whose name I have long since forgotten was right. We DO have choices to make every single day. They could be as simple as what to eat for breakfast or which socks to wear. They could be as big as do I change jobs or do I stay in a marriage that is making me miserable.
First and foremost, we have to look out for ourselves. The decisions we make must embolden us or enhance our lives in some way. That does not mean that the other people in the world be damned. I am tired of people thinking that every thought that comes into their heads should come out of their mouths.
We all have to live in this world together and must figure out some way to do it with civility. If that can’t be accomplished, I weep for our children and grandchildren. Their lives are doomed before they even start life.