April 11th, 2022 Shield Bearer | Everything in Life is a Choice

I recently watched an interview with a North Korean defector, Yeonmi Park. She suffered unimaginable horror on her journey to freedom, including starvation, oppression, and human trafficking in China. Her story is harrowing. She eventually made it to America and has an incredible story to tell. During the interview, the interviewer asked a question that was on my mind. The interviewer asked, “Yeonmi, I have to ask, after experiencing what you have experienced, how have you retained your joy and happiness?” She answered, “I choose it.” Throughout the retelling of her story, Yeonmi displayed gratitude to those who helped her along the way, she told funny stories amid horrific ones, and her overall tone and expression were happy.

➡️I love biographies of individuals who display unimaginable courage, and I have often wondered where they find it. Watching the interview with Yeonmi Park, her answer regarding choice was powerful to me. Good people need to have courage, and they need to choose it. It sounds so simple that it’s hard to imagine this is the answer. I know there is more to it than this; however, this is a critical step. To be courageous, you must want and choose to be so despite the high price you might pay.

If we choose courage, we choose to be happy, like Yeonmi. It is a significant opportunity for a paradigm shift in attitude and thinking. There are many valid reasons for any of us not to be happy. Maybe we were mistreated by our parents, spouse, children, friends, church, or employer, or we’re facing enormous financial difficulties. These are all valid significant issues, and they can be devastating. But in the end, we have a choice.

We also choose whether or not to live a life of faith versus a secular life. We choose to live as if God exists or doesn’t exist. There may not be definitive proof that God exists, but we certainly don’t have evidence that God doesn’t exist either. More and more scientists, astrophysicists, and theoretical physicists say science points to God rather than disproving God’s existence. My life of faith is the biggest, most influential asset in my life by far. It has been the greatest choice I’ve made. Without my faith, I shudder to think of where I would be.

Let’s start making some of the big choices. We choose to have a career or not, choose to have a pet, and choose this or that each day. Choose courage, choose happiness, choose God, choose kindness, choose well.

Thad Cardine,
Executive Director