No 'ifs' about it

I often remember and laugh at the old Charlie Brown cartoon in which Charlie says: “Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, ‘Why me?’ Then a voice answers, ‘Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.’ ” Charlie seems to be dealing with a supreme being whose decisions are arbitrary; he is living in the world of “if.” To me that cartoon is a wake-up call, a reminder to constantly deny the suggestion that our lives are determined by chance.

When this kind of “chancy” thinking tries to crowd into our lives, it’s paramount that we realize that we’re not subject to a world of “ifs,” or to the limited realm of material thinking. Charlie Brown’s dilemma often reminds me of a time some years ago when there was a financial crisis in my marriage. My husband had been promoted to a managerial position, making our income and his employment dependent entirely upon the quality and quantity of the salesmen working under him. Too late, he found that several of the men already working under him had been dishonest in dealing with company money and that he would have to fire them. Of course that meant our income took a dive. The next month the company gave him an ultimatum: he was to hire four new salespeople, and they had to be producing above average over their first six months, or he would no longer be employed. As a new manager, that seemed a daunting task.

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