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Be decisive - Take your life into your hands

Be decisive - Take your life into your hands

Big collective decisions are to be made (have been made) about the future of Scotland and about our place in the European Union. Those collective decisions are made out of single ones - yours and mine. In this way you and I have a real impact on our country’s future. It’s not always easy to see that, particularly when the final outcome is different than expected. It’s easy to take your voting right for granted and give it a miss for various, sometimes trivial, reasons.

I grew up in a communist country, where all the elections were farcical and fake. All candidates had to be approved by the communist party, so casting a vote had no practical impact on people’s lives. The ‘elected’ bodies had no real power, there were only fig-leaves for the dictatorial power of the party.

Everything changed when economically ineffective communism started to collapse and the communist party was forced to hold a partially free general election. All independent seats were taken by the opposition and that effectively finished communism off. That general election was the first time I could cast my vote – I’d reached the right age just in time.

That was a very practical lesson in decision-making, hugely important for my entire life. Reason and decision-making are two abilities that make us in God’s likeness, as described in Genesis 1:27: God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them. ‘Reason’ helps us to recognise ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and differentiate between them, while ‘decision-making’ helps us to choose and follow the former and to avoid the latter.

From my personal experience I’d say that decision-making is more challenging than reasoning. Why? Because decisions influence our lives, and the lives of others; and this can be really scary. Pondering on things is relatively safe; we can joggle arguments, we can even have long discussions, but without putting things in motion it’s just hot air.

Indecisiveness seems to be an attractive solution as it doesn’t put us in danger. In fact, it’s the greatest danger as it leaves us at the mercy of fate or those who take advantage of that. Making your decisions puts your life into your hands, and it’s you who decides what to do with it. Obviously we don’t have power over everything in the world. Some things happen to us whether we want them to or not, like bad weather, illness or accidents. Yet still you can make your decisions on how to deal with those happenings. You can’t stop the rain, but you can decide what to wear when it’s raining. It’s up to you whether you are soaked to the marrow or not.

Obviously making decisions can be hard or dangerous. Their outcome can be different than expected. By making wrong decisions you can mess things up. But the scariest bit about making decisions is that the only person responsible for your life is you; there’s no one to blame for your failures. On the other hand, there’s no one to take credit for any positive developments in your life. And - trust me - in the long run that gives a genuine sense of freedom.

So, take your life into your hands, make decisions and take responsibility for them.

Fr Tad Turski
St Peter's, Buckie