Archive for May 17th, 2020

As I sit in my big comfy chair, my dog is at my feet scratching at his paws. He does this every time he comes home from the groomer. They feel different, irritating him so he scratches.

Everything he does is based on intuition, habit, response. I can take him to a trainer (it’s high on my to do list when Covid restrictions are lifted) and learn how to teach him new behavioral habits, but what he learns is rote … it is mechanical learning accomplished by repetition.

My dog does not have the capacity to choose to change his behaviors.

That choosing is something that is specific to humans. Certainly we can also benefit from rote training, in memorizing facts or processes, or in creating new muscle memory in areas such as physical rehabilitation or creating new pathways for better emotional health.

But we humans have at our disposal a most powerful ability in being able to make choices at will.

When we are hungry, we choose to eat, choose what to eat, choose how much to eat. When we are upset with another person, we choose how to respond to our feelings, how to respond to that person. When someone makes a mistake we have the power to respond with grace or with revenge.

At the end of the book (and life) of Joshua, he (Joshua) speaks to the people, challenging them with the story of their history and offering to make a covenant (agreement or vow between they and God) with them. He challenges them with a question,

“choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve?” (v. 15)

I love how poet Mary Oliver has asked a similar question, “tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

It is a question asked of us all, every day of our lives.

Years ago I found a beautiful keepsake on a beach. A shell, fixed hard and fast to a rock, as if clinging to a life source. It reminds me to choose to be attached to the rock, which is Christ.

It is a question of what we will choose … either we answer it with the God of creation, we answer it with myself, or we remain silent … but the rocks will testify to our unspoken choice.

“For the stone shall cry out of the wall,
and the beam out of the timber
shall answer it.”

Habakkuk 2:11


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