Thursday, April 15, 2010


Sliding home in baseball and sliding home in life are two very different things. Sliding home in baseball is a very definite decision. It is a risk. One chooses to go that extra length in hopes to achieving something above and beyond the mere call of duty. “He who dares magnificently can expect magnificent rewards.”

Sliding into life is not nearly as dramatic (or safe.) A person may choose a vocation because it is all that is left. The person may have been in discernment for so long that neither marriage nor religious life is any longer a viable option so by default they slip into a single vocation.

Or there is the couple that started dating and then came to live with each other, discovered that they have a child on the way, and then thought, “We should get married.” Better that they did rather than not, but instead of a clear and radical decision, a choosing of what they are going to do in life, they wake up one morning, discover what is, and try to make it “legitimate.” “I give myself to you because we’re together anyway.” That would not make for an inspiring greeting card.

Criminals often find themselves in like situations. They often do not set out to be criminals, but one rationalized decision after another leads down a certain path and they wake up one morning in a jail cell often quite surprised.

Sometimes people want to straighten out their lives after a life time of choosing things that lead further and further away from what they would wish for themselves had they thought it out and planned. Following one quick fix after another they find themselves in a jam that is difficult to get out of. It is not uncommon for a person to have several marriages, be uncatechized, unregistered, living with another person and discovered that they have another child on the way and then be asked by their beloved niece or nephew to be a godparent. So they fly into my office, in all sincerity, and they want to straighten out everything from their past forty years within the next week so that they can be a god parent at the upcoming ceremony. Having to tackle one problem at a time and realizing it will take a little effort and some time they lose heart and in doing so take another couple of shovels full of dirt out of the bottom of the ecclesial hole in which they are standing.

Don’t be that person. Choose the person you want to be. Examine the possible outcomes of your decisions and decide if you can live with the consequences. But make them your consequences, not merely what will fall to you when all other decisions have been taken away.

Sometimes it helps to think of yourself as another person. Picture that person at your house or at your job or at your school and think what would make you think that person nobler or their life more attractive in your eyes. What would they have to do to achieve that? How is that in keeping with being a Godly person? Then do it! Build a foundation on which to stand. Build a life. You will not accomplish anything great without making a decision for something. Only when you say one yes and definitely say no to everything else can you create one great thing. After people who succeed, the next most admired group are those who tried nobly. Having tried to be president is a great thing too. And it is certainly better than waiting around hoping something great will simply happen to you.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This is really terrific. It reminds me of something my father used to tell us, "Always have a reason for what you do.". He explained that we would learn that in retrospect we may discover it was not necessarily always a good reason, but never mindlessly go about your life.