Decision Making, SNIPPETS

DECISION MAKING AND THE LONG VIEW

Making perfect decisions each and every time (as we imagine the very fortunate in life must do) is fate, not skill. For every million or so human beings, one will hit the jackpot with a 100% flawless decision record. “Look at me,” he will say, “I always make right decisions!” He will write a book, make a million dollars, and for some reason his followers will never reproduce his flawless decision making record. His book will be used as a coaster for hot cups of tea or coffee, or maybe it will be useful as a door jamb.

I don’t think most of us should go through life worrying about being a failure because some of our decisions don’t turn out as good as we thought they should, or show results as quickly as we would like. I’m going to tell you why you should step back and let God take charge once in a while.

A minor misfortune was responsible for the epiphany that gave me the courage to take chances without worrying about if something “bad” was going to happen to me.  I was driving back home after a writing assignment in the Massachusetts city of Holyoke. I lived in the hill towns, about 30 miles away. The highway was called the Mohawk Trail, named after the long gone American Indian tribe. Driving up and down that mountain every day was very hard on my car. On that afternoon, my engine stopped. Just like that, my car was dead. The car was still rolling, so I shifted into neutral, with just enough momentum to roll into the empty parking lot at a gift shop. Ironically, the gift shop was owned by a Native American (American Indian) man. I had written several stories for the newspaper about the pow wows and Native American flute concerts that took place on the grounds behind the store. The owner knew me, and he graciously allowed me to use his telephone (the era before cell phones). I could keep my car on his property until a tow truck came to tow my car back to my house.

This was my epiphany: Bad things can happen to us, but God will be there for us to help us through bad times. After all, if everything that ever happened was only good, well, the world would be a different place. But this is planet earth. The important thing isn’t that nothing bad will ever happen to us. The important thing is that God will meet us half way when the bad things come. True, my car died (I ended up selling it for scrap), but it had just enough “roll” left in it for me to steer it off the main highway, and park in a safe spot. I think that was the God part. The moral of the story is God reaches down to us when we reach up to Him.

I sell watches for extra money. This past weekend I realized the time was right to replenish my watch collection, and buy some watches that I could re-sell. I went to a rather large flea market in my city, which is kind of like a Turkish bazaar. At one stall I found a pile of old, vintage wind-up watches for which I paid a very low price. Some watches worked, but a few didn’t work. I couldn’t fully know which worked and which were broken until I got home. Therefore, there’s no way I could make perfect watch buying decisions. Nope. Some buying decisions cannot be known at the time you make the decision. But if I make no decisions, then I can never buy watches to sell.

The very last watch I bought was a piece of junk. I even bought a new battery, which didn’t make a bit of difference. Oh, well. Why “oh well”? Because on the balance I think I did pretty well. True, some watches don’t work. I think over the next year or so I can get them fixed. Everything doesn’t have to work right away. Things are allowed to take their sweet time. Space your life out. You would be surprised at how much better you will feel if every decision you make doesn’t have to have rule your happiness in the next 24 hours.

— Gregory G. Lewis

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