In August, my husband and I took a weekend to drive to Cincinnati, OH and back from our home in Northern Virginia. It’s an 8 hour trip, meaning 16 hours in two days. We undertook this adventure to pick up the newest member of our family, a female German Wirehaired Pointer.
The first questions we’ve been getting from people is, “Why would you drive so far to pick up a dog? Don’t they have dogs in Northern Virginia?” The answer to the latter question is, yes, there are lots of dogs in the Northern Virginia area. But the answer to the former question is going to take a bit more explaining.
The short answer is that we wanted this very specific breed of dog. After looking in our area with no success, we took to the internet where we found out about the dog in Ohio. We also have family and friends in Cincinnati who we were happy to take a trip to see.
[pq]We would be wise to embrace the unpredictable nature of individual choices.[/pq]
The long answer is that we are unique people who, as a couple, for a variety of reasons unique to our family, our personalities, and our hobbies, have specific desires toward building a future together that will help us experience the way that God has created each of us and to flourish in our individual vocations and our calling as a family.
Is that too much to say about a dog? I don’t think so. Here’s why.
As Christians, we cannot lose sight of the divine craftsmanship that defines each of us. We know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, with a specific vocation for which we have been equipped with unique talents and desires. This uniqueness is going to lead all of us to making different decisions in all areas of our lives.
Think about decisions that you have made. Where to go to college, what to study, where to move after college, to live in an apartment or rent a room in a house, for which jobs to apply, etc. The choices go on. How you made these decisions is a direct reflection of the unique way that you have been created. These, of course, are “large” questions, but our uniqueness also affects smaller decisions.
Think about how you spend money in your daily life. Some people will spend money on nice food because they enjoy cooking, others will save their money during the week to do fun activities with friends on the weekends, and yet others will spend their money on collecting their favorite records. Same again with our time. Some will spend their time reading classic novels, others will go to their neighborhood basketball court and play pick-up with the neighborhood kids who need a mentor, and yet others will volunteer with their favorite charities.
Some people adopt dogs in their neighborhoods, and others drive 8 hours one way. All of our choices are different.
This is important to remember because there is a very real temptation to think that we can know the choices that others will make. While it’s true that in the aggregate we can get really close to understanding trends, on the individual level, we would be wiser to embrace the unpredictable nature of individual choices and celebrate them as demonstrations of God’s creative design.