One Wednesday morning I work up with an “open” day. The kids went to daycare, my morning appointment had been rescheduled for Thursday, and the drop-in appointments I had planned could be done anytime before 4:30. I had a list of things I needed to do around the house, a list of things for work (including funeral prep for Friday), and a list of things for various volunteer activities. Oh, yeah, and my personal list of writing projects.
I had tons of choices of what to do and how to do them. I was able to choose what order to do them in, where to do them (coffee shop, library, or at home on the couch), and how to actually go about doing them.
So many choices.
And the choices were not between this or that necessity, but between this or that luxury.
The luxury of being able to volunteer, of having a job that I want to have and do not need, of keeping up a nice house full of “stuff” not essential to daily life.
Choice between blessings.
Even more fundamental is the blessing of choice.
Not everyone has a choice. Many people are forced to do things they do not want to do in order to survive. Most people in this world are forced to work or raise their children in ways that are out of necessity rather than any preference or conviction they may have.
As a chaplain, I was asked by the nursing staff to convince a woman to stay in the hospital. She was at great risk for her diabetes to harm herself and perhaps kill her unborn child. Yet, she felt forced to go home as her only option was to leave her toddler with a neighbor she did not really trust. Her choice was between her living child and her unborn child. Yet, was it really a choice?
Recently in the international news an Italian woman shared her story that she had to release her three daughters to government custody as she could no longer feed them.
Another report highlighted how parents had to give their children up for adoption in order for them to obtain the medical assistance they needed to survive.
And today, I had the choice to have my children go to daycare (they love it there and it was already paid for) so I could get things done more easily and have some time alone.
A precious blessing.
Gracious God, thank you for my ability to choose. Help me remember those who do not have the luxury of choice. Help me find ways to help them in ways that will provide them a choice. Amen.
(See the following blog for more on this topic: Your Manicure Will Never Be the Same.)