The Ultimate Power
Through all of my articles I have hinted around and discussed that there is only one true power and it is our power of choice. It is the power of what we will choose to think, feel, and believe. We are the ones who control it and it cannot be taken from us. Today I wish to speak on this directly.
A few years ago, I remember reading some books about how we have the power to choose what we think and what we think affects our entire lives and every aspect of our lives. One book is Karol K. Truman's "Feelings buried alive never die". In it is an excerpt from another book about a soldier's account of freeing people in a concentration camp and one prisoner there they called Handle Bar Willie. The soldier described the camp and the varied condition of the prisoners. He said that Willie was in relatively good health so he suspected that he had only been there a short time compared to other prisoners. Later he found out that Willie had actually been there for four years. This surprised him and he asked Willie about his story.
Willie said the day the Nazi's came to his village they rounded everyone up including his family. They were going to execute everyone except Willie because he was able to interpret several languages and they needed him for this reason. Willie said he begged them to allow him to die with his wife and children but they refused. He said that in that moment he knew he had a choice. He could hate them and being a lawyer by trade, he knew what hate did to people or he could forgive them. Willie choose to forgive them.
This story made me think of a movie I had watched when I was younger called "Dangerous Minds". It's about a teacher who teaches in a school suffering from low funds, run down facilities and students who are bombarded with gangs and financial scarcity. There was a line from the movie where the teacher says, "There are no victims." that made an impression on me. Between the story of Willie and this movie it made me think about how I perceived my own life's experiences.
After a while I came upon this concept. The holocaust was a period of time were some of the worst human atrocities occurred. However, regardless of what was done to them or taken from them, no matter how hard the Nazi's tried, what was the one thing that couldn't be taken from them? It was their ability to choose, their choice of what to think, feel, and believe. They couldn't be made to feel angry, hopeless, or like a victim; they had to choose it. Just as no one can make me mad or disappointed; I have to choose it.
Also, if someone else makes you mad, then doesn't that make them the ones in control of your feelings? And if someone else is in control of your feelings then doesn't mean that you then have to control them in order to be able to control your feelings? In this scenario everyone is left trying to control everyone else in order to control themselves. This doesn't sound like God's plan of agency to me. It is only in taking responsibility of our feelings that we have power that doesn't have to come from controlling someone else.
Recently I came across a man by the name of Viktor Frankl. He is a holocaust survivor and the author of "Man's search for meaning". Interesting to me is the fact that I had never before heard of Viktor or his book and yet I happened upon the same thing that his book teaches about. Here is an excerpt from his book that will explain.
"Forces beyond your control can take away everything you posses except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you."