With a national day of thanks and gorging speeding towards me like a runaway butterball, it is unlikely, I suppose, that I would not be thinking through some of the many things and people that I have to be thankful for. This morning, my first round of thanks is directed towards my community for having more coffee shops than street lights. Somedays, this morning being one of them, options are appreciated. I was chased from my first destination by a very loud band of cribbage playing seniors at one table, a gaggle of ladies who did not know their lattes from their mochas, and a wireless router that brought me back to the days of dial up modems. That was a failure of epic proportions. After passing on 4 other options and 2 blocks, I ended here again at Uptown, drawn by the lure of a chocolate croissant. For a few brief moments I wondered what life might look like in a neighborhood that did not have 2 dozen choices within 4 blocks. I'd probably have to resign myself to the premature AARP mailings that I keep receiving and learn cribbage. Somehow I don't think that would be my fate.
My life has reminded me that, like coffee shops, there are many choices laid out before us. In my pastoral artist profession, many continue to ask...sometimes desperately...how to find and live in the will of the one who Created them in His image. I ask this myself quite frequently, even more so as the days pass and cribbage looms before me. How do I know what is intended or "best" for my next chapters? I have come to the conclusion that the answer is more general than I may be comfortable with. It's kind of like, you'll know it when you get there. It's the same as asking which of the 2 dozen coffee shops I should venture into. After all, they all serve coffee, so if its coffee I want, it really doesn't matter. I could go drive thru, pump pots, lots of foam, no foam at all, corporate, individual, online, baked goods, breakfast...all of it with coffee. If it is something deeper that I'm looking for....well then that is a different issue all together isn't it? Then there are choices and no two look the same, for any two people, no matter what anyone may tell you. The reality of this is probably why I changed careers midstream while others work their same deal forever. It is probably why I moved across the country to pursue something while others choose to pursue the same thing in their hometowns. It's the same and different at the same time and its ok either way. Having said that, I also have to share that it does, I believe become a bit more complicated if you are wanting to discern the "best" or specific piece you are searching for. For example, I am convinced that Gods will for me is simply that I follow him with all that I am. I believe within all of my being that I could have remained a follower of Jesus, working my previous career, and he would have loved me unconditionally with all the love that he has for me. For me though, I felt something deep within that there was something even better if I would choose it. I didn't have to...but it was just that much better...and not even for him I don't believe...it was for me. From there, I could have become a pastoral artist in any setting, in anyplace that I wanted...but if I chose, there was what was better...not for him, but for me (actually, as a family first and foremost, it had to be for us). How do I know that I chose well? I stop on occasions like this and look at the result. All I really have to do is stop to consider that these choices have led to children who understand the same thing, spouses who were made for them, and grandchildren who reflect nothing but the perfect plan of Gods intent, if we are brave enough to consider it. And so it has gone, and so it continues to go. Opportunities, like coffee shops, laid before me. All serve coffee. All are good, some are better, one is best. It may sound like I have it all figured out...it's easy to sound that way when you are looking backwards. I will tell you, if you haven't figured it out already...this is only as certain as your next choice. As long as I draw breath, I have choices ... Good, better, best.