Saturday, March 1, 2008

Small degrees.

As I consider my life, I have cause to wonder. If my blood sugar levels had stayed too high, I could have gone into a diabetic coma. I could have died. I don’t know the likelihood of that happening, but it could have—and suddenly I would have found myself standing before God, having to make an account of my time in this life.
I wonder how I would feel then about this life that I lead, what I would say about all the things I’m doing that I shouldn’t and all the things I’m not doing that I should. Would I be comfortable in the knowledge that I did all that I could? Or would I feel ashamed that I could have tried so much harder? When I’m completely honest with myself, I know that so many times I was kind but had no kindness in my heart. If you do the right thing but your heart is not in the right place, does it really count as doing the right thing? Won’t I have to answer for the state of my heart more than for my individual actions?
But I realize also that individual actions are the things that change a person’s heart like tiny colored particles too small to see. Every tiny thing I do colors my heart one way or another, changing me by small degrees into a different creature than I now am. It strikes me as almost paradoxical that the most important decisions a person can make are all the tiny ones that add up to transform us in ways we would not imagine. Have all my small choices changed me to a better person than I once was or am I slowly drifting into a form I would like less? If I had to answer for my soul today, would I wish I had made so many more good small decisions?
Speculating, of course, gets a person nowhere all by itself. I can imagine all day and night, but until I change something in my life, it won’t do much good. The thing to do now is to set a goal to do something worthwhile today. Life can be full of so much meaning and beauty if you will choose to see it and participate in it. I can be aware of my decisions and make them more thoughtfully. I can rededicate myself to good things and fulfilling activities. I can think more about others and strive to keep genuine feelings of love in my heart.
Then, in 80 years or so, when I am called to stand before my God, I will be able to laugh with him about all the ridiculous hilarious things that happened in my life, feeling no shame and only joy. That’s what I want to happen.