Friday, October 29, 2010

Wrong Choices/Right Choices

Yesterday, my wife and I took the day off from our responsibilities to spend a day away from home in a nearby large city.  We did a little shopping for things we couldn't get in our own town and went out to eat.  I found myself ignoring the presence of God and made some poor choices.

First, I was approached by a woman in a parking lot.  She told me a story that was obviously untrue about why she needed me to give her money.  Instead of praying before responding, I told her I couldn't help her, climbed into the car with my wife, and left.  I could have easily have reached into my pocket and given her a dollar or two, but, without thinking or praying, I didn't do that.  It wasn't my place to judge her or to refuse help, using her bogus story as an excuse.  I pray that the next time I am confronted with this choice, I'll make the right one.

Next, I found myself becoming irritated by the inattention and rudeness of sales people.  I refrained from repaying unprofessionalism with an angry outburst, but I never considered that there might be an underlying reason that I was not receiving the treatment to which I thought I was entitled.  Perhaps there were difficulties in the lives of these sales persons that I knew nothing about.  My obligation was to be compassionate, even when I was not being treated courteously.  I pray that compassion will trump my sensitivity to ill treatment by others.

Today, I went to a great deal of trouble to help my dad.  In the middle of my efforts, he made a very unkind, cutting remark that wounded me deeply.  My initial reaction was to lash out at him.  Instead, I bit my lip and sat in silence for a few moments.  I thought about my anger and hurt and looked at these emotions objectively.  When I replied, I explained in a calm voice why I had made the choice that he was so critical of.  What could have turned into an argument, as similar situations in the past have, instead turned into a pleasant conversation, with my dad realizing that he had jumped to the wrong conclusion, and the remainder of the day was filled with peace rather than anger.  I thanked God that God had spoken to me and helped me make the right choice.

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