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Choices that matter

by davesandel on May 24th, 2021

Monday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time, May 24, 2021       (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Choices that matter

The Lord God called and asked, “Where are you?” Adam answered, “I heard you in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself. “Who told you that you were naked?” asked the Lord.

Ordained by God, our original nakedness lets us thrive, while the makeshift clothes we make for ourselves from our incomplete, premature and finally false knowledge of good and evil send us pell-mell into death.

The man he called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.

Then Mary, the mother of Jesus, caught up Eve and all us “living” in her embrace, in her bold obedience, in her words to God’s messenger, “May it be unto me according to thy word.”

In her book The Choice: Embrace the Possible, Edith Eva Eger creates a guiding acronym for difficult moments, fraught with choices that threaten to tempt me away from God’s perspective on my life into evil of one kind or another. Usually the evil is internal, and it’s marked by implosions of negative thoughts, selfishness and fear. Sometimes it explodes outward into complaining, disobedience, violence or conversely, careless passivity.

Here is EEE’s acronym, which is the centerpiece of her “Choice Therapy:”

CHOICE. Choose

Compassion,

Humor,

Optimism,

Intuition,

Curiosity, and

self-Expression.”

She writes, “I’ve never met a person who would consciously choose to live in captivity.” She asks four questions that can minimize the captivity we experience in spite of ourselves:

  1. What do you want?
  2. Who wants it (what part of you)?
  3. What are you going to do about it?
  4. When are you going to do it?

Eger is Jewish. So was Viktor Frankl, who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning after he survived Auschwitz during World War II. He refused to lose touch with the “space” between past and future, that moment when we can make a choice. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Self-preservation might turn us into animals, or we can forgo that self for something more. Frankl wrote from his experience, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

I was sick yesterday. Margaret had zero vaccine blues, but I guess I had them in her place. Most of the day I felt weak and spent in bed, watching golf, listening to Frederick Buechner talk about the “ordinary”, sleeping, watching Marc wend his way through Florida to his friend’s house in Cape Coral, wondering if I’d be OK by today to spend some time with the Tomitas. My inner animal, with its need to feel good instead of bad, was nearby all day.

All shall sing, in their festive dance, “My home is within you.” Glorious things are told of you, O city of God. O blessed mother of Jesus and the Church, warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son, Jesus Christ.

I was happy to have another perspective, offered by God and available to me at any time, whether I availed myself of it or not.

(Genesis 3, Acts 1, Psalm 87, John 19)

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