The discussion around the table was lively. I could see a clear mix of two viewpoints. On one side, it was as if there was passive resistance permeating every option. The details were interesting, but clearly impossible. On the other hand, the ideas were ideal, approach fantasy. Neither side seemed interested in reality. When I went to react, as much as I wanted to presume that my analysis was factual, I knew I did not want to pursue options that had no chance of ever working.
Options often take on a unique life cycle.
Experience suggests we often imagine that the one option we know is not available is the one of choice. “If only” becomes a longing expression of what could be. If we let the idea sit too long it seems to come so attractive that few can resist. With time, they become fixed in our mythology that they were the only choice or they slowly fade as an opportunity that we missed.
Options can also be positioned as our defense against change. Change is never easy, even when we know and want change to occur. A way of creating a roadblock is to propose a solution that we know is difficult, maybe even impossible. It is if we are asking a child to behave like a mature, all-knowing, all-disciplined adult. It may be ideal, however it is unlikely to be viable.
In this context, I think of the conversation we had around options. Metaphorically, one lead voice mimicked Agrippa’s response to a case before a judge. “Agrippa told Festus, ‘He could be set free right now if he hadn’t requested the hearing before Caesar.’” (Acts 26.32) In our situation, if a list of circumstances were this way, we could pursue the ideal.
Options start with where we are. The present may not be pretty, but it is where we begin.
Options will take us to our priorities and values or away. The question is, do we know our target?
The slate is clean. We can capture both and take a smart step.