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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Toughest Choice in the World

The easiest decision to make is the one between good and evil. No one comes to Sunday Mass thinking, "Should I take $10 out of the basket or put $10 in?" It's pretty clear one thing is evil and the other is good. The evil choice is hairy, hunchbacked, and full of carbuncles. Good choices are clean shaven and guiltless. So when you want to become a monster you take one path and when you want to become a gentleman you take another. Confusion is minimal. To make it easier, evil choices always come with unwanted consequences and so sometimes we'll avoid them simply for that if for nothing else. Spending a summer in rehab isn't fun, nor is scheduling in an HIV blood test - even if its free. Not to mention that what happened to Dorian Gray could happen to you. Nobody sane wants that to happen.

The toughest decision to make is the one between good and better. You will deliberate on that one, if not for days, at least long enough to leave the usher wondering if you're going to leave Benjamin in the basket or take out a twenty for change, as well. Giving a little more is hard because there aren't any bad consequences to scare us into doing it. You can choose either "some" or "more" and still live without regrets. So why choose more? That's a tough question to answer; maybe because it's also a tough decision to make.

Take for instance a young man who gives of himself completely to care for sick people for, let's say, 14 years. 14 years is a good fairy tale number. Then, one day he himself gets sick. He can easily say to himself, "I'm going to stop this work, make some money, and just look after myself." He would be completely justified in doing so. After all, he's already put in 14 years when much of the world would probably get tired of it after 14 days. He's given not just some, but a lot. It would seem that giving doesn't get easier but only tougher and each time we'll want to give more we'll need a better reason to. 

Maybe one day the decision between good and better, some and more, will come my way; and then I'll probably wish that it were as clear as right and wrong.

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