Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go,
If only making choices were so easy. If only there were a way to be completely absolved of any of the ramifications of the choices we make every day, our life would be wonderful, right?
Someone I know ended up in jail this weekend because of the choices he made. And I’m so glad he did, because he seemed to think he could charm his way through life. I’m hoping that his time in jail will be a lesson to him that he can’t just claim “young and dumb” and walk away.
We all make bad choices from time to time – I’ve certainly made my share of them, and I know I will continue to make choices that seemed OK at the time but in hindsight were not the best. (Gotta talk with my eye doc about that 20/20 hindsight!) We all find ourselves in difficult situations where we have only unpleasant choices to make, but the question so often not asked is how did we get into those situations in the first place? Sometimes the ‘school of hard knocks’ is a classroom of our own making.
I just finished celebrating the Jewish High Holidays. It’s a time for reflection and making amends to anyone who we’ve harmed with our bad choices. In Judaism, if we have harmed our friends, we have to apologize directly to them and ask them to forgive us; God is not in the position to forgive those sins.
The new rabbi at my synagogue presented an entirely unique take on the meaning of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. He said that not only is Rosh Hashanah the anniversary of the birth of the world, but that it was a new beginning every year. Every year we had the opportunity to start fresh and make better choices in our life. He presented Yom Kippur as not a day that God judges our past actions, but that because we can choose better actions in the future, we will be judged on those.
Some choices are dictated by physical addictions, like meth or alcohol. Those that aren’t are usually the result of continued bad habits – we just get in the habit of making certain choices. It’s certainly not easy to make a healthy meal – it’s much easier to grab some fast food on the way home. So we must consciously look at the choices we make every day and make an effort to choose differently if the path we were on wasn’t working.
Two days in jail. Was that enough time to decide that perhaps some different choices are in order? Time will tell.