One tree can start a forest,
One smile can begin a friendship,
One hand can lift a soul,
One word can frame the goal,
One candle can wipe out darkness,
One laugh can conquer gloom,
One hope can raise our spirits,
And…one choice can change your life.” Mac Anderson
I remember that when I was in Jr High, we moved to Santa Cruz. At school I met some girls and became friends. One night they had a slumber party and they played a game as people fell asleep in which they would say really mean things about that person. Not wanting to be left out and not have any friends, I played along although I felt horrible. Later I pretended to fall asleep and I remember everything that they in turn said about me. Once everyone was asleep I got up and walked home crying the entire way. It was like 3:00 in the morning and I walked over 2 miles and I felt so guilty about what I had done to another new girl in the school. The next day I called her up and apologized and we ended up becoming best friends.
That night I made a couple of choices. The first choice was letting peer pressure affect me so that I did something that I can never forget, that I am still ashamed of to this day. The second choice was to swallow my pride and make it right. I learned a powerful lesson that night, and have never let peer pressure cause me to do something that I know is wrong.
Every day we have things happen to us in which we make choices. Sometimes we make the wrong choice, but we always have the chance to make that wrong choice right both by making amends, and by never making that kind of wrong choice again. It is not easy to stand alone among a group of people that are trying to talk you into something that you know in your heart is the wrong decision for you, but I never let peer pressure cause me to bend my ethics and personal beliefs again.
It is not easy to look at a decision and then acknowledge in your heart it was wrong, and then make amends to those who were wronged. That forgiveness starts first with yourself, because that is the first person you harmed, yourself. Then it moves to those you wronged, and then it moves to a decision that those who are traveling down that path can’t be your friends.
So while one choice can destroy life, one choice can also repair that destruction. This doesn’t mean that things can always be fixed as good as new, but it does mean that you can atone for your bad decisions and move into a better place, both by forgiving yourself and then asking for forgiveness from those we have wronged. I know that in my case, my friend Denise and I had a strong friendship because she was able to see the courage that it took for me to make things right. It changed both of our lives forever.
So remember that you are always one choice away from changing not only your life, but all those you touch!