Thursday, July 21, 2011

The nature of Indecision

"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino!"
Tom Hanks as Joe Fox
You've got Mail

You Got Mail is one of my favorite movies- it stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, as two people who meet in a chatroom on AOL and end up emailing one another back and forth. They don't share personal details, but instead vague and dreamy thoughts that are harder to share when you know the people face to face. They create a deeper connection than they are even able to create with their significant others, and it changes their lives. 

Of course, there is a twist. These two particular people are enemies- business rivals who are fighting for their careers- one leading a simple life,  running the small bookstore which is the legacy of her mother, and the other taking over his father's chain of a large superstore location called Fox Books. They have a terrible personal relationship with each other in real life, and want very different things. 

I'll warn you that if you haven't seen it, and your planning to, that you should stop reading now, because I'm about to spoil it. When Joe, the superstore afficianado, finds out who his internet love is, he makes the decision to try to make her fall in love with him anyway. In the end, he wins her heart, and they come together in a loving embrace. And then the movie ends with the resounding strains of somewhere over the rainbow. 

But not for me. See, I watch them kiss, and all I'm thinking about the poor choices these people have made. Kathleen Kelly is a simple woman, who wants to write children's books from romantic settings and live simply. And Joe Fox will always be a super store heir, meant to dabble in the rich lives of his business consumers. He will always be part of the big business. She will always be for the independent workers. Middle ground seems uncertain.

I do this, sadly, with every movie that I watch, and every book that I read, and every television series that I view. I don't like happy endings. They are too neat. They don't show the hard work, the fights, the sweat and tears that go in to finding and creating success. They don't show the choices made.

If you read the quote above, you might suspect where I am going with this. Our lives are filled with decisions. We have all kinds of choices to make at every corner. Some people thrive on the opportunity of making their choices whenever possible. Other people- like me- avoid decision making at all costs. 

When you make a decision, it's on your head. The consequences are a result of the choice you make. This is an ultimate reward/consequence system- whatever happens, it's because of what you've chosen to do. Maybe it's the highest gratification, or the worst disappointment that you can imagine. Or it can have a middle range response and you may feel nothing at all. But you've missed out whatever would have resulted from taking the other road either way.

Frankly, some days, it's just too much pressure. 

In the end of the movie, Kathleen Kelly makes the choice to love Joe Fox back, despite what he's done to her. I don't know if her choice leads to happiness or a bitter ending relationship. But I admire her courage to make a decision. Because on the bad days, I can't even decide on which Starbucks beverage I want to purchase, never mind how to have the barista make it. 

Luckily for me though, I believe in a Savior who has my best interest in mind. And even when I'm not sure which way to go, He gives me the guidance to end up on the right path. I know that the best choice that I have ever made was to ask Him to be with me, and to promise to follow Him, because He's there to help me when I can't decide what I want, or need, to do. 

The decisions that I will make someday will change my future. They will all have their own output in the end. And I am grateful that no matter where I am, or no matter what I order, God will be there to help me make the right choice. 

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