CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coke. Diet Coke. Caffeine-Free Coke. Coke Zero. Cherry Coke. Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. Vanilla Coke. You name it.
We have so many choices today, and I wonder whether all our options have created some negative side effects. While I'm all for progress -- and choices -- it seems that one of the side effects is, at least, indecisiveness, if not noncommitment.
Too many choices can send the message that we don't really have to pin ourselves down. You can always get out of something. There's always a back door.
While options allow us to customize our desires, this kind of thinking could very well spill over into other areas of our consciousness and result in unhealthy patterns. Why put all that work into a relationship if you can just go out and start another one? Why stay in that college when you can just transfer?
If left unchecked, this behavior can -- and has, in some cases -- resulted in a disposable, throwaway mentality in today's society. The old adage "Anything worthwhile is worth working for" doesn't seem to hold as much water these days. "Keeping my options open" is much more prevalent.
A few years ago some friends from Italy were visiting West Virginia. They were amazed by so many things that were different from their culture. It was hard to believe, though, that out of everything our area has to offer, one of their favorite activities was to go to Walmart. Not necessarily for the shopping, either. They just stood there, looking up and down the shelves and aisles at all of the options. Not that this is a bad thing. It's just simpler in their culture.
Like I said, I wouldn't want to turn back progress. I just think we may want to consider some boundaries to the kind of thinking that can take over in this realm. Quit the team. Dump that friend. Get a divorce.
The beauty of commitment, when it is right, is that it anchors us. In our unstable, unpredictable world, anchors can be good things. You know you can count on that person. That friend is going to be there for you. Your husband, wife or significant other is going to provide that soft place to fall.
Commitment is a two-way street, though. You can't expect to get these kinds of returns if you don't put in the investment yourself. It's true -- there are givers and takers in our world. And there are times we need to give, and times we need to receive. It's when this balance gets out of whack, challenges erupt.