Chance or Choice?

I’m a Boomer. In my childhood home, our telephone hung on the kitchen wall, and every time it rang, shouts of “I’ve got it!” resounded throughout the house as my brothers and I raced from every direction to get there first. Competition often provided the tension that held us close to one another: who got to the mailbox first, who could snag the prize in the cereal box, and—my personal favorite—who picked the next TV show before the rest of us could change the channel. I usually won that one.

I loved game shows, and the 60s and 70s kept me well-supplied with options. Somehow, if the person on the screen won, I felt as though the bragging rights belonged to me. The prizes were always hidden from view until the last second, when the contestant would know if he would be driving a new car home or leash-shopping for his new goat. Everyone would laugh at the goofy prizes—everyone except the recipient, that is, who wished he had made a different choice.

One of my favorite game shows began with the host asking the audience for random objects they may have with them. Women carried their largest purses filled with odds and ends, hoping the host would ask who had a magnifying glass, a cocktail umbrella, or some other unexpected item she had squirreled away into the deepest pocket. The next contestant was determined by whichever person had predicted what object the host would ask for. It was strictly a game of chance. 

Once on stage, the host would ask the spot-lighted contestant, “Which door do you choose? Door number one, door number two, or door number three?” Cheers from the audience would erupt in anticipation of what would be revealed when the selected door opened. I always played along as though my own little purse had held the paint swatch or foreign coin that landed the contestant on stage. To be completely honest, I would have been happy with a new pet goat, so I never really felt like I lost.

The choices I made from my dad’s recliner seemed very important at the time, but I was just a schoolgirl. My game of chance had no real consequences. But, each candle that was added to my birthday cake brought more decisions with bigger outcomes. I was thrilled when my mother asked which carpet sample I preferred and what color I wanted my room painted. As a fifth-grader, I chose orange sculpted carpet and bright yellow walls. The color palette I selected for my room provided real consequences I had to live with until I got a place of my own.

Since then, I’ve made thousands of choices. College, houses, and cars were among some big decisions that required hundreds of smaller ones. The most important, however, have not been those that money could buy. I chose a godly husband, I chose to mother four daughters, I’ve chosen the best of friends, and I’ve chosen to embark on a journey of healing for myself and for others.

The most important choices are purchased with the heart. In this game of life, if the currency is love, there are no losers. Everyone wins.

With an abundance of possibilities ahead, there are always doors to choose from. Today, the spotlight is on me and prizes await, so I choose compassion, I choose forgiveness, I choose kindness, and I choose love.

With so many doors waiting patiently before us…open doors…which ones will you choose? 

Abundant life is a game of choice.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).

Wendy Lipham lives on the Alabama Gulf Coast where she has taught interview and communication skills for over twenty years. Having heard God’s call to work with young women who have experienced sexual violence and abuse, she is further inspired by the growth of her “Beautifully Broken” story group. She enjoys writing, drawing, and needlepoint. Most of all, she loves living life beside her husband and hearing the laughter of their seven grandchildren.