Yes I choose, but sometimes the only choice is to endure.
Sometimes thoughts unbidden cloud my mind, and leave no choice rather than to let them fly their course. And feelings, un-invoked, wash over me sometimes like a sea. I am not an island, so self contained, that some choices cannot be forced upon me, some choices are no more than a Hobson choice. Yes I choose, and I think, and I feel, but I am not always the genesis of thoughts that runs through my mind.
Satisfaction , like comfort, is always fleeting. No more then obtained before it is gone to be sought again. I eat until I am satisfied, then hunger leads me to once again seek satisfaction. I find my comfort in my bed, but toss and turn all night leaving the spot that has become uncomfortable to seek it elsewhere. What suited us at one time is no longer the attraction it was, and we look to change things more to our suiting. The only thing certain in life is change.
I would rather do this than that, but circumstances conspire such that I must do that and let this go the way of an unfulfilled desire. I love her, but she does not love me, she loves me but I do not love her. Frustration not of my choosing, but of my choices. But really, do I choose who to love? Is that a freedom given unto men? Or is it the arrow in Cupid’s bow that decides?
I don’t like my job, it is a job I chose, and I can choose to leave it. But can I choose not to pay the rent, make the car payments, buy the groceries for my child? Must I not, at more times then not, do that which, if left to my rathers, I would choose not to do? The road before me chooses the way much more than I do, for I can only choose between the choices put before me. And each decision casts a long shadow into the future.
A decision to go to college or not, to marry or not, to be a Doctor, Lawyer, or an Indian Chef all lays out a different path. To choose is to determine what choices will be placed before you. So what freedom do you have been what you would want to be? A child born to a coal miner his path will be different then the path of a child born to a movie actor. Yes, some coal miner’s children become movie actors, but how many movie actors’ children become coal miners?
You are shaped and formed by every experience in the path you walk. Hard times, for some, shatter them into thefts, or welfare dependents. Easy time is the ruination of others. Those same hard or easy times yet for other build a foundation for success. Maybe not in a way they would have chosen if the choice had been theirs to make, but one that they, and those who know them, are proud they have found. This is where the adage, “The man does not pick the job, the job picks the man” comes from.
What is the difference between the doctor/lawyer and the theft/welfare cheat? This is not to say that all those who are on welfare are undeserving of the charity they receive. Well let me rephrase that, for no one is deserving of charity. To deserve one must fulfill a bargain, the worker is deserving of his pay, the employer deserving of the labor he pays for, but the man watching the work is not deserving neither the worker’s pay, nor the employer’s money.
Both, however, should be free to give to the non-worker if it is their free decision to do so, that is their choice. But when the government takes if from both the employer and the worker and give it to the non-worker, that is theft. For the only choice given to the employer and the worker is to give to the non-worker or go to jail or die in resisting the government.
But back to the question, what is the difference between the different outcomes, between the one who becomes a carpenter respected for his labor, and the decision he had made when the choices were put before him, and the bad check writer who decided that his need and wants are greater than the bank’s whose money he defrauded? They both start out on a path not of their choosing, they were born to whom they were born, and where and when they were born. Choices that they did not and could not chose were presented to them.
Nature or nurture? Your genes or your environment? What of the brothers that both were loved, went to the same school, and killed their parents? When next door all the children lived model lives. And consider President Clinton and his brother Roger, what explains the difference? Genes are demonstrable not the answer. Just as sure, as the Coal Miner’s Daughter shows, the environment is not the answer.
The answer must lie within the mind, the soul if you will, of the individual. According to their personality they chose between the choices presented to them, and react to them in the manner that their heart leads them. One to stay in school, another to sell drugs on the street. One to quite selling and using drugs, another to kill to keep his business. One to do their homework, another to think that school is a waste of time.
As we go through live on the path that God has put us upon we are shaped by our experiences, and it is our experiences that lead to or away form God.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it.
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?