Wednesday, September 03, 2014
You Only Live Once?
Do you believe you only live once? When I was a child I was taught there was no life before this one. It was drilled into me that if I died before Judgment Day there would be no life after death, unless I had been really, really … I mean REALLY … good and did all the things I was taught on Sunday and throughout the week.
As I grew older I came to believe that life is eternal and, though we may have different bodies or expression through time, there is no end to the life energy within each of us. I developed a strong conviction that I had lived lives before this one and that my spirit will go on to live after my body dies, either on this plane of existence or others.
But Warren Buffet changed my mind last week. (I’ll bet in a thousand years you did NOT see that coming!) John G. Taft, the author of “Stewardship: Lessons learned from the lost culture of Wall Street,” recently wrote about the greatest sayings of Buffett. In the article he refers to the “punch card analogy” Buffett uses in the context of investment and finance. Taft suggests that it can apply to life in general as well.
Briefly, this punch card idea states that we have a limited number of key decision-making events that occur in our lives. If your “life card” has twenty places to punch on it, once you make one of those choices you have only nineteen left. Think about the old amusement parks rides that took a different number of tickets for each ride. When your roll of tickets was gone you went home. “What?” you say? “Talk of limitation from a religious science minister who believes in our unlimited potential?” Yes, in a way, so mark this down as one of those times.
This idea goes quite well with the belief that we have freedom of choice, but not of consequence. Choosing a drama over a comedy at the theater or pasta instead of salad for dinner probably isn’t going result in some earth-shattering or otherwise monumental change. If I choose the comedy film followed by the pasta it’s probably not going to be something memorable ten years from now unless, of course, that cute Italian waiter is my next ex-husband.
Narrowing our choices and choosing wisely can have a tremendous impact on our overall happiness and satisfaction with life. Too many choices of anything can stop us from moving forward – ask any couple who had to decide on what color(s) to paint the bathroom. Conversely, only one or two choices can feel like it’s “damned-if-I-do-damned-if-I-don’t,” which for me translates into “I’m powerless and a victim.”
The danger here is taking an attitude of “I don’t care” on one end of the spectrum and “I have to do this” on the other. Very few of our daily decisions fall soundly on either end. Most are in the middle. The rest lean more toward one side or the other.
Our job is to decide just how much energy we want to put into our decisions. To assist with decision making think about this: How important will this decision be in five years? In ten years? Or, If I had been given only one more year to live, what different choices would I make?
I suggest to you that there will never, ever be another unique person exactly like you through whom God (Spirit, if you prefer) can experience life. Be confident in your decisions. Choose wisely. And, above all, make sure God’s having a good time in the process, since you are that which God is!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,