In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, an old knight guards a room full of ancient cups- one of which is the true Holy Grail. “Choose wisely,” cautions the knight, “for while the true Grail will bring you life, the false grail will take it from you.” Like Indiana Jones, we’re all faced with challenges. Most of them are not life or death. But some of them can seem that way. While I was thinking about this concept, I was reminded of my experience this past Thanksgiving. I found myself shopping on “Black Friday” – that wonderful time of the year when retailers go out of their way to lure us into emptying our bank accounts so we can help them get into the “black”.
I had refused these retail expeditions for years but finally decided it might be an entertaining adventure. It was. Never before had I seen such a sea of humanity all jockeying for that all important flat screen TV or crock pot. It seemed kind of anti-Christmas in so many ways, especially when I saw how ugly some people became. Long lines and crowded aisles just don’t seem to bring out the good in most people.
As I stood in line, I reminded myself that I chose to be in the middle of that human traffic jam. I came to save a little money and get a few things I thought my family might enjoy…okay, and a few things I might enjoy, too! As our line merged with another one, I overheard a stocky man with a shopping care announce that he didn’t care if people thought he was rude, he was going to cut off the line merging with his. I actually looked over at him, silently acknowledging his challenge [since I was in the line that was merging with his.]
True to his word, the moment I merged, he pushed his cart into my back. Several times. Getting irritated I almost turned to yell, “Back off, dude.” Then I remembered: the choice was mine. I could allow his negative actions to ruin my morning OR I could decide to ignore it. I chose wisely. Not only did I ignore the grumpy shopper behind me but I put a smile on my face and decided that no one was going to ruin my adventure. And you know what? No one did! It was probably one of the most positive shopping experiences I’ve ever had. And I don’t like to shop.
Being negative can drain us of joy, but there is a more satisfying alternative. Like Indy, we can choose wisely. We can make a choice that brings life and goodness into our world.
I know my wife appreciated my unusually sunny attitude that morning. And I spread that sunshine everywhere I shopped the rest of the day! Now the choice is mine to keep the lesson in the mental file as the days pass!