There was a great TV programme on over the holiday season where Richard Coles, once part of pop group The Communards in the ’80s and now a vicar in the Church of England, shared some thoughts on his route through life.
That’s got to be a career that had some Choose You moments!
Throughout the programme he projects his ownership of himself and the peace and inner strength that seems to give him: he owns what he has done in the past, the choices he has made, and the choices he continues to make. He doesn’t deny what has gone, the dark and sometimes awful things that he has done, but moves forward with a belief that his future is about what he chooses from this point on.
At a particular turning point, after a year of his life had slipped by under the influence of drugs, he recalls seeing his own reflection in a tube train window at 7 am on a Monday morning, when others, on their way to work, tried hard to avoid him. He was dirty and smelly, with dried blood under his nose and no recollection of where he had been or what he had been doing since he had left home the Thursday before. Looking at that reflection in the train window he thought “get a grip or you will die”. Then he took control and chose what happened next.
Whilst Richard’s story contains more extremes than many of us will ever experience, we are all, whether we acknowledge it or not, in control and making choices about how we deal with what comes our way. Richard describes that he is just as “awkward and angled now as I ever was” but what he has realised is that “as you go through life you discover that the idea that everyone else is entirely at ease with themselves is not the case”. So whatever we are dealing with we can know that we are all on the journey together!
Whilst he exemplifies many of the ideas of Choose You, what Richard Coles offers us most is hope: that whilst the choices we make may be far from easy we can get through. That whatever has gone before does not have to determine what lies ahead. As he puts it “What I was didn’t matter. The mess I had made of things could be put right”
We can all make that choice. Whatever is not working for us, we can choose to put it right.