At a writers meeting I attended online, the speaker was born in Dresden, East Germany back when the country was divided, and she spoke of her family history. During an Allied bombing raid, her grandmother had to choose between two places to hide for safety. She made her choice, and when the raid was over, they crawled out of the basement to find the other option had been destroyed by bombs. That single decision saved her grandmother, her mother, and her uncles. Otherwise, the speaker wouldn’t have been there to talk to us.
She asked us to think about all the decisions our ancestors made that got us to where we are today. In her case, her family survived both world wars, and a torturous regime before they escaped to West Germany. Looking further back, her family had survived numerous wars and famines, the Black Death, and no telling what else. Through all the turmoil, someone survived and passed life on to a child who passed life on to a child who passed life on to a child and so on.
Her talk made me think about my family. In the many branches of my European family tree, someone decided to leave everything behind and move to America. By the early 1700s, most of my ancestors were walking on east coast of America. My circumstances would be vastly different if not for those many decisions.
A decision was made the day a football coach put my dad in a Texas history class that freshmen weren’t supposed to take. The coach knew that class was for upper classmen only, but he made the decision to put a freshman in there because he wanted this kid to play football for him. My dad went to class and sat behind a cute girl and fell in love with her. He’s still married to her.
That football team from long ago won two state championships over the next few years. His best friends on the football team tried to get my dad to go to the University of Oklahoma with them. Some he’d played ball with since elementary school, but he turned them down and made the decision to go to Texas A&M where Coach Bear Bryant wanted him. Dad’s decision to go there led him to a meeting with P.C. Key who became his Bible mentor and teacher. That influence continues through today.
My dad’s decision to move to Colorado eventually led me to my job at the Bureau of Reclamation where Hubby’s decision to move to Colorado brought us together. The decision of a manager not to hire Hubby for a job he desperately wanted ended up saving his life. The man he hired was killed in a company plane crash. My decision to move to Boise was made several years before my son met and fell in love with a woman not far away. I’m so glad we were close by when our grandsons were born.
So many decisions made with a lot of thought, a lot of prayer, or in the spur of the moment have changed the course of many lives, including mine. I invite you to think about the decisions that were made by you, your parents, or your ancestors that still have an impact on you today. All of them went through a lot, endured a lot, and faced a lot of trials to put you where you are. They wanted better things for themselves and their children. It would be a shame to let them down.
Later, reflect on the decisions you’re facing today that could impact those who come after you. Speaking especially to young parents, the decisions you make personally or as a family impact the outcomes of so much of your children’s lives. Choose wisely.
II John, verse 8: Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
God gave us free will. There are consequences of every decision we make; some good; some bad. Thanks for this.
So many seemingly random choices affirm for me the role God has in our lives.
Love this idea. It’s often astonishing to look back over the past to see how those “chance meetings” made all the difference.
Thanks be to God.