Decisions, Decisions

Our lives are all about choices. They’re measured in the way we choose to treat our spouses, children, siblings, parents, friends, co-workers, and casual acquaintances. They’re weighed by whether we choose to act with honesty and integrity in our professional and personal dealings. They can be summed up with what we choose to do with our unique talents and abilities. They’re about leaving our mark on this world in such a way that others will be glad we were part of it.

No one is perfect. We all make good decisions and bad ones. The best among us have their share of faults and shortcomings.  The worst have at least one redeeming quality. In the end, our lives are about what kind of people we decided to be.

I was thinking about this yesterday while at the funeral of my former father-in-law. Despite the fact that we parted on less than amicable terms, I still have good memories of him. He was more than willing to help people when in need. The two of us once spent a hot Saturday afternoon at his home replacing the alternator on my car when it went out. If anything ever broke at our home, he always volunteered to fix it. He also never wavered in his loyalty to his wife. He was faithful to her and willing to take care of her despite her schizophrenia.

Yet he made decisions later in his life that eventually alienated his closest friends and family. Life became about excuses instead of action, taking instead of giving. Friends and family became a means to his selfish purposes. If they couldn’t help him get what he wanted, they were worthless to him. Eventually even those who were closest to him wanted nothing to do with him. In the end, he died alone in a cheap motel room from a drug-fueled ecstasy.

Even though we may not see it at the time, the decisions we make have a profound impact on those around us. At some point we will be held accountable for the choices we make and the person we chose to become.

Hopefully our good choices will outweigh the bad ones.