The Choices We Make

Choices. We make them every day. What will I wear today? What will I have for breakfast? How will I use my time today? Whom will I befriend? What career will I choose? Whom shall I marry? Some choices are minor. But others have serious consequences and far-reaching ramifications. Here is a little poem I wrote about the choices made by several individuals in the Bible.

“What If?”



The burning bush by Karla Gudeon

What if Moses had said: “Look at that burning bush. How strange!

But I can’t go over there and take a closer look right now. I’ve got these sheep to tend to.”


What if Ruth had said: “You’re right, Naomi. I’ll stay here in Moab.

You go back to Bethlehem by yourself. It’s been nice knowing you. Take care.”


What if David had said: “Yikes! Goliath is much bigger than I thought!

I haven’t got a chance! I’m getting out of here!”


What if Mary had said, “Thanks for the invitation, Gabe.

But tell God I’m sorry—I’ve already made other plans.”


What if Joseph had said: “For a minute I thought  I heard an angel telling me

to take Mary as my wife. It must have been those peppers I ate.”


What if Peter  had said: “But I can’t leave my fishing, Jesus.

It’s the only thing I’m really good at.”


st. matthew)

The call of St. Matthew by Caravaggio

What if Matthew had said: “Sorry, Jesus, I can’t come and follow you.

I’m far too unworthy.”


What if Paul had said: “Me write a letter? I don’t have time for that sort of thing.

Just tell the Corinthians I said ‘Hi.'”


In the past salvation came through ordinary people

making extraordinary choices

and trusting in God’s grace.

Salvation comes today

in the same way.


Some questions for personal reflection:

Have I ever made a choice that looked simple at the time, but it ended up having serious ramifications for my life?

Have I ever made a choice that made me change the plans I had already made?

Have I ever made a choice that called forth talents from me that I didn’t know I had?

What are some of the choices I am making at this time in my life? Does my faith influence these choices?


PS: I enjoyed my time in New Jersey and met some extraordinary men and women. I want to thank them for attending the workshop and/or the spirituality day. I was enriched by their presence!

This week we celebrate Veterans’ Day. Let us remember to pray for all who are serving or have served in the Armed Forces. Last year on November 4th I posted a reflection on my Uncle who served in WWII. If you would like to read it, just type Uncle Hank in the search box at the right.

No Comments

  1. Kathleen Magiera on November 10, 2014 at 5:18 am


    Great reflection once again! I have made a choice to continue to work at my marriage with my husband. That choice effects so many friends and family every day.


  2. Peggy May on November 10, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I want our grandchildren to know they have a right to choose to follow Christ.

    • Maureen on November 10, 2014 at 9:34 am

      It’s been my experience in the last 20 years of my life that almost every second year I’ve felt a nudge that I can’t ignore – a sort of bend in the road of my life; sometimes I’ve moved in this new direction and in reflection feel/see its meaning. I ask Gabriel that I may listen for the Lord’s voice over all others each day – Mary and Gabriel, her fiat! What a gift she’s given us. Thank you for this posting Sister Melannie.

  3. Kathy on November 10, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Thanks, this was perfect for me today, and I will share this with my daughter, senior in college who is making those large life-altering decisions right now.

  4. Mary Schneider on November 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I found myself smiling at several of your “what ifs”. I hope that I am making better choices now; I know I will with the Holy Spirit guiding me.

    • linda on November 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Can you tell me if you are going to have anymore workshops?

      God Bless

      • Melannie Svoboda SND on November 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

        Dear Linda, I have no other workshops scheduled until February in Tampa, Florida. I’m using the next couple of months to focus on my writing. After January 1, I will post all my workshops/retreat days on my event calendar. Just click on “Events” at the top. Thank you for asking. Where do you live? Sr. Melannie

  5. Annie on November 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Paul saying “Just tell the Corinthians I said ‘hi'”? That’s hilarious!
    Thanks for a great reflection!

  6. Sr.Maureen Spillane on November 12, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Melannie, I loved your creative way of illustrating choices. 🙂

  7. Karen on November 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Ouch! I’m definitely David in your example. I don’t trust enough in myself or in God to take on the things that look too big in my eyes.
    Thank you! Always thoughtful. Always thought-provoking.

  8. Lorna on November 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    We are certainly defined by the choices we make. We pray God is leading us but there are times we just don’t know. Learning to be patient to hear God’s voice before making important decisions can save a lifetime of regret. Thanks for sharing your insights and I look forward to your reflections during Advent.

  9. Jean Canatsey on November 14, 2014 at 8:54 am

    10 years ago at daily Mass I looked up at the altar and saw four women serving as extraordinary ministers who I knew, like me, had sons in prison. They were ministering to the community and no one was ministering to them. I suddenly had the impulse to invite them to join my husband and I in forming a support group for families with incarcerated loved ones. And so……Families Ministering to Families was born. Over the ensuing years this group has grown and expanded and in the process dramatically changed our lives and those of many, many others. I felt it was the Holy Spirit speaking directly to me and I had no choice but to accept.

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