I recently saw the movie, The Way, which chronicles the travels of father Tom Avery. He walks the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), which is a pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The pilgramage typically begins on the border of France and Spain. The reason for Tom’s journey is to complete the voyage that his son Daniel began but did not finish because he was killed in a storm along the way.
The movie begins with Tom taking Daniel to the airport. Tom argued with Daniel about the futility of taking such a trip. Daniel had recently dropped out of graduate school and he wanted to experience, through travel, the many things the world had to offer. His first trip would involve walking the Camino de Santiago. Tom tried to talk Daniel into going back to graduate school and choosing a career for his life. And Daniel replied, “You don’t choose a life, you live one.”
One thing this means is that as we live life, we make choices along the way and as a result of those choices we live and experience life in this world. Yes, some people “choose” a life or a career and they stick to it. But the point of the quote is that we must vibrantly live out the choices that we do make.
Many of us have chosen to follow Christ. And a life of faith flows forth from that choice. So in the words of Daniel Avery, we don’t necessarily “choose” a life but we experience life and we live out our faith based on the choice we have made to follow Christ. Jesus comes into our lives and leads and guides us as we make various choices. Some of the choices we make will be good and others not so good, but hopefully we will learn along the way what it means to make choices that make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others.
Do we choose a life? Maybe or maybe not. But regardless of one’s perspective on this, the important thing is to make choices that are good and pleasing to God so that we can faithfully live out the life that he has given us.