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July 10, 2021
Life Is a Cafeteria
Growing up in the late 1940’s until the 1970’s my experience of life was very limited. True, I had lived in the states of Michigan (born in Detroit), Washington, and California by the time I graduated from high school. In April of 1970 I had completed an electrical apprenticeship program and was a unionized construction electrical journeyman with Local 58 I.B.E.W. However, my view of life was still largely determined by the circumstances I had experienced, and not through any deep reflection on these experiences. In the process of growing up (actually only just getting older), I quickly picked up and let go of ideas, behaviors and attitudes about life, people, and situations as though I were going through the “cafeteria line of life”. I did not consciously discriminate between choices because somethings were good for me, and others were just pleasing to look at (but don’t touch). Eventually I began read more about and study the idea of informed choices versus impulse choices; the value of discernment versus emotional attraction. From the 1970’s until today, and into all my tomorrows, my understanding and appreciation of and for the lessons in life will help me discern better choices for future actions. I am a long way away from even doing a “good” job, but I am, as is everyone, a work in progress.
Once again though, through the limited scope of my personal observations and judgements made upon those, I believe that there are far too many people who pass through life as though they are in the cafeteria, choosing what looks best, without considering possible harmful effects. It is especially true that in the United States, we have a lot of freedom to make choices. We often consider these choices as “rights”. I have a right to live where I can afford. I have a right make decisions about my own life. I have the right to be treated with respect. I have a right to own and carry a gun. I have a right to protest. I have a right to…. The list can go on almost indefinitely, and possibly unnecessary to add, these and other “rights” belong to all people, not just me. However, in the wild and wooly clamor for “my right to…” I almost never hear the clamor for “my responsibility to…”. At the very core, the central teaching of our faith is not the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, but our call to know with every fiber of our being that the Lord alone is God; there is no other, and to love God and neighbor with equality.
Going through the “cafeteria of life” we are presented with a multitude of choices. Choose wisely because whatever you choose will change you.