New Year’s choices
My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. (Philippians 3:12-14)
We’re fast approaching the pivot point of an old and a new year. Whereas we may remember and learn from happenings in 2015, we’re unable to retrieve them for the purpose of alteration—either by way of addition or subtraction. That’s simply not an option because 2015 is no longer unavailable. Von Goethe nailed it: “Time flies, and what is past is done.” On the other hand 2016 is both unavailable and unknowable. Consider this heavy-duty fact: none of us knows how much of 2016 we’ll experience. So, my point is this: our field of action is the present. And our action is determined by nothing other than our choices. Relative to time this is the only power we have: CHOICE.
Dr. Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist, was imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II. His wife, children and his parents were all killed in the holocaust. The Gestapo made him strip naked. As they cut away his wedding band, Frankl said to himself, “You can take away my wife, you can take away my children, you can strip me of my clothes and my freedom, but there is one thing no person can ever take away from me—and that is my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me.”
Some years after liberation Dr. Frankl, reflecting on his harsh imprisonment, concluded the following: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
So, as we face 2016 “where no one has gone before” remember these words: “Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself” (Robert Bennett).