So imagine this. You’re sitting at your desk in the middle of one of the most stressful weeks in recent personal history. You and your whole team just got adjusted and yet the customers on the other side of the phone line insist on your constant assistance. You are so deep in stress that it no longer looks like stress- like being swallowed by a monster no longer recognizable from the pits of its own stomach. Then from one of the desks around you, you hear a whisper issuing forth from your fellow captive’s breath: “Choose joy, not anxiety.” And all of a sudden you’re free. A sword was placed in your hand and you slice your way out of the belly of the beast.
What just happened? In an instant, you were teleported into a whole different realm, and possibly without anyone’s direct intent on that happening. Joy, hope, relief, all provided by one person making a choice to say no to everything around them and choosing a reality that just moments before seemed totally out of reach. This is the power of choice.
There is a verse in the Bible that reads “choose life that you and your seed may live.” And at the moment, as my colleague made that choice and voiced it out loud, I entered into the experience of these words. My dear colleague chose life and I lived. Not only did they make a choice to stand against anxiety but I too became a benefactor of their very personal choice.
Now fast forward to two days later. The stress level has dissipated but insists on prowling at the borders of your subconscious, waiting for a moment of weakness to attack, doing its best to get you to come closer to the opening of its sharp-toothed mouth. Then comes a (more than usual) stressful online chat and you not only run to, but throw yourself into, that gaping mouth that’s been waiting to swallow you. The moment passes and you become aware of your semi-frightening actions and so you apologize to those poor souls around you who witnessed the horror of your surrender. And then, a post-it note rises up above the computer monitors right in front of you, and on it the words written “Not today Satan” and once again you surrender, this time not to that lurking beast, but to salvation.
This is the team that literally surrounds me everyday. My team. Not only do they coach me and train me in how to excel professionally, they also provide me with a choice every day. A choice to say no. A choice to deny. A choice to stand strong in a joy that I sometimes forget is already mine. And this choice that they provide me has become my salvation.
I believe that humans are, or are at least meant to be, possessors of the most beautiful things that life has to offer- joy, peace, love, virtue, etc.- and that the way to possess these things is by making a choice, by choosing the very thing we want to possess. I also know that we cannot possess these things alone. That we need others. And I further believe the beauty of needing one another comes not first in the form of needing an exhortation to make such choices, but in needing living patterns of some who have themselves already made that very choice, a living reminder that it is possible.
About a year and some ago I found myself in a suffocating situation. Everything around me seemed negative, and horrible whether it really was I do not know. But to me, in that moment, it was the worst. And when I opened this up to a parental figure, telling him and his wife “I’m tired. I’m done.”, he straight up said to me ‘Don’t say that. Don’t say you’re tired. Don’t say you’re “done.”‘ He was speaking faith into me. In a way he was trying to release me from, well, me and my unbelief. I don’t think I’m anywhere near this, but maybe even this very thought, this very statement is … me, not having faith. And all I have to do is say “I choose to be free, to have faith. In the midst of everything, I choose to be happy.” The reason I am so thankful for my team is because they remind me of this, just about every day. In the midst of everything they speak faith into me, not primarily with words, but with actions. And the beauty comes from this: I don’t think they know it.
I have a thought I’ve been pondering: maybe words are roads to reality. And what we say paves the way to what we experience in life, the choices we make every day, and who we end up becoming in this life. And voicing these words takes faith. And faith calls for a choice, an action, a step. And once we take this step, make this choice, we pave the way not only to our own salvation but possibly to those around us witnessing the miracle that is lived out faith.
So call me biased, but I do believe I am part of one of the greatest customer support teams out there.
Flores y Chocolate