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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Good Choices

“Everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
~ Victor Frankel, "Man's Search for Meaning"

"...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
~ The Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:8

Regardless of the circumstances in our lives, we can always choose how we respond to whatever our situation may be.  The statements above come from two men who experienced unimaginable pain and persecution in their lives yet chose to respond in positive ways.  

Victor Frankel survived the horrors of loosing his entire family and nearly his own life in the Nazi genocide of World War II.  He became a neurologist, psychiatrist, author, and founder of the psychiatric school of Logotherapy.  

The Apostle Paul endured persecution, imprisonment, and beatings while spreading the teaching of Jesus and organizing the early followers of Jesus into communities of faith that would eventually become Christianity.

These are both dramatic, nearly larger than life, examples of choosing to respond in positive ways.  However, our lives are filled with nearly constant choices within all the circumstances of our lives.  We never know when a small choice will, in retrospect, become a large one, so why not try as Paul says to choose to find the good in all situations.

This is not always easy to do, however the first step is realizing we have choice and the ability to respond.  We can't change the reality of a situation but we can always choose our response to it.  As Frankel says, the one thing that can't be taken away from us is our innermost response-ability.

As I use to say to our children when they were teenagers (and sometimes still do), but now mostly say to myself,  "Make good choices."

I don't always make true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, or excellence choice, but when I do, the world looks a whole lot better. 

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