The last several days of readings from Nouwen have covered a similar theme – choosing life over death, choosing blessings over curses. As I read the devotions, the passage from Deuteronomy 30:19-20 came to mind –
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him”
Choose life and choose blessings. There is a deliberateness to this for us. We have to make conscious choices to do this over and over.
This was illustrated for me as I was walking to the church the other morning and saw this little turtle walking out of our neighbor’s grass and onto the sidewalk. I stopped to watch the turtle and saw that s/he was seeming to be looking to cross the street. Now this isn’t an incredibly busy road, but there are still enough cars that it could be hazardous for the little turtle slowly crossing. So, I watched for a few more moments to see that this was definitely the turtle’s chosen path and I walked over, picked him up and carried him across the street to the grass on the other side. The whole time I carried him, his little legs were moving frantically almost like “what’s happening here?”
Choosing life and choosing blessings can be like that sometimes. We have to make a deliberate choice as I said before. But also those for whom we are offering life and offering blessing might not always be receptive or be understanding of what we offer. While we do not force ourselves upon others (unlike here where I didn’t really give the turtle a choice in the matter), we can offer and we can act. We can choose life. We can choose blessing.