Embrace Your Freedom to Choose. Accept the Consequences.
~by Diana Murdoch~
We all want the freedom to choose our own path, make our own decisions and lead our own lives. It’s MY choice! It’s my RIGHT to choose. You will find no argument from me. If you are an adult and responsible for your own life, you may choose whatever you desire. You MAY NOT escape the natural consequences of your choice. It’s like the law of gravity. You drop it, it falls. Or like an echo. You shout into the mountain and the echo WILL come back. We cannot change the laws of nature, and so it is with choices.
Little Sammy had enjoyed eating the ripe juicy melon he stole from Mr. Olds garden. But when Mr. Olds came over to tell mom, Sammy had to admit what he had done. Mr. Olds told him the melon was being grown especially for the fall harvest festival, and now Mr. Olds would not have an entry for the contest. Sammy was very sorry. He didn’t mean to spoil Mr. Olds plans for the festival. Sammy apologized and offered to make it right to Mr. Olds. (Restitution: give back for what you have taken) Mr. Olds agreed, and Sammy was put to work sweeping the porch, washing the windows and cleaning the garage. When he was done, Mr. Olds was pleased and told Sammy all is forgiven. After all, a melon is pretty tempting for a little guy on a hot summer day. Sammy was relieved. It felt good to know he had made it right, he had taken his discipline and cheerfully worked. Now it was behind him.
Next morning, Sammy awoke to find he had been scratching himself. His legs were itchy. His feet were itchy. His arms were itchy. Even his face was itchy. When he looked in the mirror he was horrified to see he had red bumps all over. When mom saw them, she told him he probably sat in poison ivy. “Oh, no” Sammy groaned. The hiding place where he had eaten the melon was a shrub that must have had poison ivy growing as well. For the next few days, Sammy was miserable and grumpy. He had apologized. He had been sincerely sorry. He had worked hard to make things right with Mr. Olds. Why should he have to suffer this, he wondered. Dad explained that when we make choices, we may choose as we like, but we are not free from the natural consequences of those choices. Just because Sammy made it right didn’t mean that the poison ivy would not itch.
And so it is with our grown-up decisions as well. We may choose to drive fast. We may even be sorry if we hurt others, but we cannot be released from the guilt that will forever follow. We can drop out of school, but not be free from the lack of job opportunities because we are not educated. We can go on a crazy diet if we choose, but not be able to avoid the health risks from unnatural dieting habits. Every decision we make has consequences. Every decision we make affects those around us. We do not live in a void or on an island. We share a home, a family, a community, a city, a shop, and relationships with others. Before you make your own choice, because you have that right, consider others, and think about how your choices affect them, how they may react, and what your consequences might be because of your decision. Don’t be surprised. Don’t be angry. Be a grown-up and accept the consequences of your choices.
Meet the Author: Diana Murdoch
At the age of 54, Diana Murdoch applied to go to University for the first time. Studying Psychology, she has a keen interest in learning disabilities, the brain that can change, and human relationships. She calls her work, “Unconventional Wisdom”, and shares it liberally.