Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Choice

In the nearly fourteen years Mr. Awesome and I have been married we have lived a big, crazy, tragic, joy filled, hilarious, loving life. We have had speed bumps and roadblocks and we've even driven off a couple of cliffs but we're still here. We still get up everyday, parent our kids, live our lives and love each other. We keep going because this is the road we have chosen.

I meet people all the time who have triumphed over seemingly impossible circumstances. They have survived terrible illnesses, horrific accidents or the heart breaking loss of loved ones and still manage to live their lives with hope and joy. I often hear stories of people who have lived through vicious attacks or habitual abuse and have dedicate their lives to helping others or read articles about families who have tuned their personal tragedy into a means of raising awareness and funds for a specific charity. These people amaze me.

Sadly, though, I have met almost as may people who let life's every bump slow them down. They are easily wounded by a careless word or a perceived slight. Every challenge they face becomes a major crisis and if they have experienced a real hardship or tragedy in their lives they stall right there, in that moment of sadness and loss. They allow the events of life to trap them and they can't carry on.

What's the difference between the people who take life head on and those who get stuck in the mire of circumstance?

Perception and choice.

Everyone experiences difficulties and disappointments in life. There are plans that go awry, losses that are suffered and failures that happen and there's nothing we can do about the happening. What we can do, the part that belongs to us to change and to own, is the thoughts we use to frame our circumstances and the attitude choice we make as we deal with the situations we face. Its up to us to have a happy, successful life, it's our responsibility to choose how we want to move through this world.

I have always been fascinated by the story of Horatio Spafford. In 1873, after the death of his young son and the tragic loss of most of his business holdings in The Great Chicago Fire he book a working vacation for him, his wife and his remaining children. They were meant to sail from New York to England to volunteer at evangelist, D. L. Moody's crusade. A last minute business issue arose but rather than cancel the trip, Spafford sent his family ahead of him with a promise to follow in a few days.

Days later, as Spafford was about to board a ship to meet his family when he received a telegram from his wife. It read, 'saved alone.' Their ship had suffered a collision with another vessel and had sunk. Two hundred and twenty six people had lost their lives including the Spaffords' only children, their daughters, Annie, Margaret, Bessie and Tanetta.

Spafford boarded his ship an sailed to met his wife. It was on that voyage he penned the words, When sorrows like sea billows roll, it is well with my soul, that later became the brilliant hymn, It is Well with My Soul. Not only did Spafford find the strength to place his faith in God during this tragedy but when the ship docked he did not allow his life to stall.

Within eight years, Spafford and his wife had two more children and together as a family they decided to move to move to Jerusalem. There they dedicated their lives to serving the poor and war devastated people of the region, no matter race, culture of religious conviction. He chose to live, even when life seemed impossible.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
~Horatio Spafford

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