Posts Tagged ‘cards’



Pushing my cart through the grocery store, I approached the rack of greeting cards. First came the largest section: birthday. Apparently people send lots of birthday cards. Next came baby, followed by wedding. (Perhaps a comment on our current culture?) This was logically followed by anniversary, then thank you, perhaps to be used by those receiving wedding and anniversary gifts. Toward the end came get well, and last, sympathy—for the families of those who did not get well. Our whole life span was summarized by the labels on the greeting card rack.

Sadly, I came to choose from the last category. The older brother of a childhood friend had died. His life had held, as most of ours do, both moments of loss and discouragement and moments of triumph and joy. The ending, however, came closer to the tragic than the triumphant. The family had shared few details, but I knew that they had tried to help, with little success. A combination of events and decisions had contributed to the shortening of a life that might have ended differently.

Life brings unexpected changes to us all. We cannot control most of the accidents or diseases that hit us. We cannot change such things as job layoffs, growing old, or the engine that goes out in our car. What we can control is the decisions we make, and one of the most important decisions is how we choose to react to the struggles that life brings. We can choose to withdraw, to hide our sorrows behind alcohol or drugs, or to strike out in anger. Or we can choose to reach out to others and to reach up to God.

Viktor Frankl, a psychotherapist and survivor of Nazi concentration camps, wrote, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (from Man’s Search for Meaning)

Our life on earth will end, but the choices we make can determine whether that ending will be tragic or triumphant.

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