by Doug Wysockey-Johnson
What decision are you facing in these next days? Chances are there is something:
Calendar: you may be thinking about how to spend next Saturday afternoon;
Work: you may be wrestling with how to prioritize projects or allocate resources;
Health: you may face a decisions related to next steps in a lingering health issue;
Checkbook: you may be wondering if you can afford ______(fill in the blank).
Some of our choices are large and weighty. They give us pause and we may literally agonize over the options. Others feel easy and quick. All of them combine to constitute our lives. As the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “We create ourselves by our choices.” Choice by choice, decision by decision, we make a life.
Lumunos mission is to help you make good decisions. By “good” we mean choices that reflect your own values—that which is truest in you. And by good we also mean that which is best for the world. Our hunch is that when God says in the Old Testament “choose life,” (Deuteronomy 30: 19) this is what God means. There are decisions that represent the highest good both for us and the common good. This path is generally not easy. It is not without personal sacrifice. In fact, it is often quite complicated. But there is a way, a path, a pattern of decisions that is life-giving both for us individually, and for the world as well.
Two examples from Ann Arbor MI on a Saturday night. One represents an individual decision; the other comes from the world of work:
--Dorm room, University of Michigan: Isabel’s friends are all heading out for a fun evening together. Isabel lets them know that she is going to stay in and have a quiet evening on her own. Her friends roll their eyes, thinking affectionately, “She is a bit odd, but we love her anyway.” Isabel on the other hand knows that, while she would have fun at the party, what she needs is some alone time. She knows that she will have more to give her studies, her friends, and the tutoring program she leads if she takes the time to renew her spirit. She makes a simple choice to stay home, even if her friends don’t fully understand.
--Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop, State St: The ice cream shop is packed on this warm evening. Regardless of what flavor a customer orders, he or she knows that choices have been made in the creation of that ice cream. The stakeholders are not just stockholders or the parent company, but include the employees that put the ice cream in its containers and the cows that provide the milk. (For a fun way to find out what kind of life giving decisions have been made for your favorite flavor, click here.) These decisions have not been easy. There has been a cost, literal and figurative. But the choices represent one company’s best effort to make decisions that are good for Ben and Jerry’s and good for the world.
Wayne Mueller writes “Every single choice we make, no matter how small, is the ground where who we are meets what is in the world.” (A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough) Highlighting the importance of these small or large decisions isn’t so that we become paralyzed with fear in the face of our decisions. In fact, all of us have bad choices in our past. We will continue to be imperfect in this way.
The point is to be care-full about these decisions we make. When possible, take the time to connect with our deepest beliefs and convictions. Then move forward. Or in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss,
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.