Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Cup

I'm having the first cup of coffee of the day. I didn't used to drink coffee except in winter and that very very rarely. Jerry bought this coffee for me to try because he knew I liked flavored coffee. I had a terrible headache that day and it cleared it up. So, I've had a cup a day ever since. That was at least three years ago. Despite medical advice telling me to stop drinking coffee, I've not stopped. That first cup altered my life.

I didn't post last night. Once I got home, it was later than usual. After a bath and snack, I actually sat down to read my Bible when my sister called to update me on a family situation. After talking to her for about a hour I called to check on Randy because he was not well but he was asleep and I talked to Lisa, his wife for over an hour. By the time I got done it was nearly ten. I watched a show on the computer until nearly midnight.

I am tired this morning. I've had two late nights in a row and I have to stop that.

The situation we are concerned about can't be fixed or helped. I am upset but not to the extent that the others are. Not because I do not care but because I'm not there with them. That is probably a good thing.

Something happened that has simply devastated my siblings and other members of my family. Because of them I won't share it. But sometimes, choices made long ago have such far reaching repercussions. In my world view the harvest of a person's sin may not be reaped until a generation is past. Usually those who watch it my not understand it and be totally broken by such events. The Bible says that the sins of the fathers are visited on the children. That doesn't mean that the children have no choices. Life is all about choices, some good and some bad. That is what is happening in my family. There were bad choices made and there are consequences to bad choices that wound even more people.

Proverbs says that we have sown the wind and shall reap the whirlwind. In this day and age if a person doesn't think we are living in a whirlwind, they're blind. This generation is reaping the first cup of the whirlwind. We have sown our wild oats and the harvest is a bumper crop. Reaping is hard work and the bigger the crop, the harder the work. This is true in my own family.

Last night, after my calls I picked up an old Sunday school book I had found recently. It wasn't lost, just on a shelf forgotten. It was dated 1985-1988. Then, I remembered 1982, three years before I'd bought it in hardback. Jerry and I had thought we were home for good. We'd come back from Italy to our home town and were there to stay. I could see us sitting in that little church. I felt the happiness of being with my family in the place I was raised worshiping the God of my Mama. Then I remembered the choices that brought us there to that place and how it changed our life forever. Because of those choices we went down a different path. And here I am today.

We make them every day. Every minute. And they seem small taken one at a time. But the cumulative effects of choices is life altering, not just to the person making the choices but to those around them. I started a book on grief shortly after Jerry died. It was about a minister who lost his wife and son in a fiery automobile accident. I remember him saying if she had turned a different direction, if he had held her up just a few moments longer life would have been different. It seems a small thing. But it isn't. That small choice altered multiple lives. He was alone with a small daughter to raise and a church to shepherd. It was a bad choice she made that day but she couldn't know the impact it would have. You say it is life but to negate the power of choice is to make us automatons, robots who have no power to change ourselves or our circumstances. Choice is the gift of God.

If Jerry had not made a bad choice in 1982 life would have been forever altered. I caused him to make that bad choice because of something I did. By the time we realized what we'd set in motion, we were feeling the effects of it. Had I stopped to consider what my actions could set in motion, I'd have never stepped on the plane. Jerry would have still been in the military, have gotten far better medical care and may have added several years to his life. It is very possible I'd not be here alone. My actions began a series of events that have ended up hurting me more than anyone else. Life altered in an unexpected direction. I had choices. I could have made a different one.

If different choices had been made in this current family situation, at least 20 people would have taken different paths. Their lives would very possibly have been radically different. Their choices would have been effected. It is unfortunate that we can't see the effects of choices. Of course, the next generation had choices and in this instance one person's terrible choices have lead to the heartbreak of a dozen.

Joshua said to the Hebrew children "Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

A man chooses to buy a gun for protection. He shoots his neighbor. A child decided, against parental instruction to play ball in the front yard and is hit by a car. Choices made.

Life will not be easy no matter the choices we make. I speak from experience. It will hurt in unbearable ways. Tragedy will happen. People will get sick, die, break, wound. But the choices we all make will affect these things. Consider the choices you make, look down the highway, consider the path you walk or drive. How will your life be affected by the direction you take? How will those you love be affected? Who will feel the repercussions of your choices?

You can't predict everything but you can lessen the impact of your choices if you simply choose this day whom you serve.

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