After leaving my monastery on May 10th, 2001 I was assigned to our National Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Washington DC from June through March 2002 . The Cathedral is next door to the Vice President’s home and the staff of the Annex building I stayed in nicknamed me “the monk in the attic”! One hot summer night I awoke in the dark realizing that the electricity had gone out! However light was pouring in from the front room on Massachusetts Avenue so I went to investigate. Down below I saw all sorts of emergency trucks with lights on stands, two wrecked cars in front of the Cathedral, police everywhere and two attendants draping a sheet over a body on a stretcher!
It turns out a man who was very intoxicated had made three bad choices that night. First he decided to drive somewhere completely soused and hit another car by the Cathedral which killed the other driver. His second bad choice was to flee the scene and his third bad choice was the direction he chose where he immediately came upon the tall, wrought-iron fence surrounding the Vice President’s grounds! Being really drunk it seemed to him that his only option was to climb over the fence which he did. This set off all the alarms on the property and the tender mercies of several Secret Service agents! He was charged with DUI, homicide by vehicle and endangering the life of the Vice President!
Every day Life presents us with choices to make. Sometimes we just don’t want to deal with decision-making so we turn away from making one. The problem with this approach is that choosing not to choose is a choice! Life does not stop while we figure out either what we want to choose or whether we want to choose. Therefore it is to our benefit to foster a reflective lifestyle so when Life ambushes us with one of those “choosing” moments we will have some idea of what we think, what we want and what we don’t want for our life! Life is sometimes like that fateful evening, giving us little time to understand a choice that it demands we make immediately. Life is a lot more serious and a lot less “Hallmark rosy” than we ever suspected when we were sixteen. And that’s just the way that it is!