Make a Difference…CHOOSE Life


Yesterday was a strange and difficult day.  I woke to the very tragic news about another ridiculously random shooting in a movie theater.  12 killed, 58 injured, including one 3 month old baby (at least, as of the time I stopped turning on the news). My heart was broken, as was much of the nation. Some of us are simply numb from over exposure to this type of violence. (Those of us from the Chicagoland area are completely oversaturated by this madness.) I am having trouble understanding what the problem could have been.  What is it about life that can make someone so sadistic, so selfish…so ungrateful for life, however challenging it may be?

I have been sitting and stewing on this subject for months…literally, MONTHS! And then this happens!  I am almost at a loss for words.  On the other hand (Like I said, I’ve been sitting and stewing for a while)…

I have watched, in my own generation, the family unit become completely unraveled and the frustration about it all has been brewing.  I have had many discussions about it with my own sons and yesterday was no exception.  What could make someone behave ‘that way’?

We bandied about many issues that could have precipitated the acts of violence we have seen in recent years: Acts of violence on video games as opposed to the local news; parenting without boundaries and unbalanced consequences to bad behavior (sometimes rewarding it, sometimes ignoring it and sometimes over-punishing); Angry or moody music (how many people got up and shot somebody with the blues playing?); the impact of abortion on the value of life; the impact of imposing religion on people as opposed to introducing them to a relationship with God…we covered a lot of ground.


However, after talking and listening to God, my sons, and my heart, I believe this is what God wanted me to post today.  I have several articles in mind that would have served as a response to this occasion. Pieces of them were written years ago. Some of them have a decidedly more ‘soapbox’ tone to them.  And, rest assured, I will be posting them at a later date. Like I said, I’ve had this subject on my mind for quite some time. Please hear my heart on this and try not to take offense.


Every now and again, our lives need an internal evaluation.  Am I happy, or do I have joy?  Am I content or complacent? Is my drive to do things in order to get what I want, or to get that I really need? And, if I am getting what I need, is it at the expense of someone else’s need? Am I making a positive difference in the lives around me or am I becoming a source of irritation? When people see me coming, do they smile or wince?

Sometimes we get in a rut with the choices we make, and we don’t even see it happening!  It’s so easy to get caught up in the distracting, panicky pace of life and you find yourself thinking about things in a way that only brings you (and everyone around you) down.

Many times we look at our homes and communities, and we look only at the things that need to be corrected.  The roof needs to be repaired.  The kids’ rooms need cleaning.  The schools need more teachers. There are so many things that need to be done, corrected and provided for.

We all look at Philippians 4:8 like it’s rhetoric to be memorized…and it is.  But it is also a habit to be practiced.  Thinking on the positive in a world full of negative takes WORK.  And, just like any kind of exercise, it starts with the CHOICES to do it. Yes, I said CHOICES.  Every moment of every day we make that choice. The more consistent you are about being aware of the choices, the easier it becomes to choose well.

Is an angry observation about the obvious going to make the difference?  Probably not, in and of itself.  But, if that complaint is redressed as a critique for what isn’t working, coupled with a compliment for what is working and a suggestion of how YOU can help make it better, change for the better is a foregone conclusion.  How the deposits of today produce the returns of tomorrow is determined by one’s perspective.

What do we see?  How do we see it?  Every moment of everyday, the choice to see the world through the lenses of life or death is set before us.  To speak life and to see life is to communicate gratitude for the good and a hope-filled expectation for the best in everything.  To focus on death only breeds despair and apathy.

Yes, the roof needs repair. But, isn’t it good that it has held on through this rainy season?  The kids are studying so diligently this week maybe a cleaned room can be worked on this weekend.  If we could get some of the parents together from honors English to take turns as visiting helpers in class once a week, that wonderful, hard-working educator might not appear to be so overwhelmed.

It’s amazing how seeing something through the grateful eyes of life can reveal the endless positive possibilities before us.  More amazing still is how communicating gratitude and life includes us in the effort and the process for positive change.  And really… isn’t it better to build up than to tear down?

Make today the day you choose to speak life.  See life, and LIVE.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kaleidoscope Perspectives
    Dec 18, 2012 @ 00:06:25

    Reblogged this on Kaleidoscope Perspectives and commented:

    I don’t know how many of you read this the first time, but it seems that I may need to post this anytime some ridiculously tragic event takes place. Live, speak, choose LIFE!



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