Chapel of Optimal Life

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SERMON: Choosing

Before graduation from high school, Amala lived at home with her parents. Sometimes it was a strained relationship, but most of the time it was great.

Graduation brought some freedoms that she didn't have before; and that was good, she felt. The pressure to find a job was over. But, it was looking like a job with low pay and no benefits was going to continue for a while.

Finding an apartment, for the amount of money she could pay, hadn't been easy either.

As time went on, she started to yearn for the good old, secure days of high school; she missed home, too.

She tells him about all the boys she has known and all the girls she couldn't get along with so now she doesn't have many friends.

She was also missing Mica. They had gone steady the last year of school. Why did he have to do it, anyway? Now that she was really free; she didn't like it so much. This freedom from parents, school and her boyfriend started to seem more like a burden.

There's more responsibility with freedom than she ever had under the laws of her parents and school. At first she felt like Rev. Martin Luther King "Free, Free at last." But, now her freedom was like a hundred pound boulder strapped on her shoulders.

More than a year and a half has passed since she had moved from home. Time has passed so fast; but this night has passed so slowly. She sits on a footstool looking out of her window. She looks at the clear, radiant, full moon and bright stars. They look so pure and clean; this isn't the way she feels. She feels so very alone; she feels so sad, she feels hurt and dirty.

Morning flows over the buildings and into the yard below. She decides to go outside and sit on the porch. When she comes out on the porch she sees an old man sitting in a swing wearing a pale blue sweater; his dog is tied to the porch post. He looks at her and smiles. She flips her un-finished cigarette out into the yard. He looks safe to her; he was old. After all, he has lived two doors down from her for over a year.

She walks across the long porch and sits beside him on the swing. Both are silent as they gently push with their feet and the swing slowly squeaks in the still of the early morning.

After a while she says, "What are you doing up so early on Sunday?"

"These old bones won't lay in bed too long. Bruce," pointing to his old mutt of a dog, "and me got up and went walking. What about you?"

Amala smiles and says, "I've got a lot on my mind. I haven't slept all night."

Before she knows it she is telling the old man all about her life, especially the last year and a half. As she is talking she keeps thinking, "Why am I telling him all this?"

He listens intently, hardly saying a word. She tells him about all the boys she has known and all the girls she couldn't get along with so now she doesn't have many friends. How she had lost her job yesterday because she was always late as a result of partying almost every night. She tells about the horrible thing she had done about a year ago. She wonders what it would be like to hold that baby in her arms and know what it would feel like to hug it.

And on top of all that, Mica was coming home after almost two years. He would hear about what she had been doing. He could look into her eyes and know. She suddenly turns around in the swing putting her leg on the seat, leans toward the old man who was now looking at her and says, " My life's over and I'm only twenty! Why did God let this happen to me?"

What would you say to her?

Well life isn't over for Amala, but it could be soon if she continues the life she is living.

Amala is a Native American name which means clean and pure. She didn't feel that way anymore. Psychologist say that, most of the time, a person has to hit rock bottom before they are willing to make a change. It looks like Amala is there. And those that supported her in what she did, share in her sins.

There's good and bad in differing degrees in everyone, Christian or not. The people who don't find and heed their inner moral compass are only following after their selfish desires. These people may have concern for those special people in their life, as long as it doesn't get in their way.

If you were the older gentleman, would you say this to her?

Stop living by what you feel will make you happy. Let go of the old life and turn to the voice within and start a new life. A new life that only you can give yourself. If you aren't willing to trust your moral voice, and continue living for yourself and the pleasure of the world, you will never be happy. Your sins will pile mountain high and crush you beneath their weight. If you aren't living to do good and to be good but living only for your selfish, petty pleasures, you should examine your life.

When you trust in your own inner goodness, all your failures, shame, and guilt will be forgiven and cast far away. To save your life, you must turn away from living for what you want and turn to living for what is good for you. You should start trusting your heart's message, one baby step at a time, until you can walk like a happy, strong adult.

It isn't easy to live for the sake of goodness. The internal inclinations and external pressures are always going to be with you. But the closer to goodness you live, the more power you will have to resist and the happier you'll be!

But the older gentleman doesn't say anything. He simply reaches out and gently touches her hand. Then he stands up, unties his dog and with a great big smile says, "Lets go."

"Where are we going."

"To church, right after we eat breakfast."

As they are walking down the street the gentleman says, "When will Mica get back?

"In three days. He's been teaching English in China."

Adapted from a sermon by Roy Fowler as posted on


One's philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Eleanor Roosevelt


Man driving down road .

Woman driving up same road ..

They pass each other ..

The woman yells out the window, PIG!

Man yells out window, W I T C H!

Man rounds next curve.

Crashes into a HUGE PIG in the middle of the road, and dies.

Thought For The Day:

If only men would listen....

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"Life is but a moment, death also is but another."

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"A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth even has its shoes on."

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"Any of us who cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which we all must pass if we would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven."

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"When we have got it, we want something else."

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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