Most plants are very generous with their seed, thank goodness. Some seed are embedded in red fruits; raspberries; easy to find; yummy. Their species depends on animals finding them, eating them, and later depositing the seed in a nice mound of dung. Others are hard to spot because their species depends on them avoiding predators, falling into the ground and growing. We have to search them out. Peas for instance; green; well camouflaged among the leaves.
Nature is generous with fruits and seeds. Life is generous with opportunities. Parallel universes open up before us every minute of the day. Often, we think we have no choices. It usually is just not true. The trick of enjoying life is to make choices that lead to happiness and fulfilment.
Not all fruits are as good as they look. I vividly remember eating an arbutus unedo, the false strawberry. You wouldn’t try a second one. The writer of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 suggests that we try everything and hold fast only to that which is good. Not bad advice.
Some good choices are easy to spot, others need seeking out. Most bad choices are seductive, like the lovely arbutus unedo. Sometimes bad results are delayed after a pleasant initial experience, like too much liquorice or too much alcohol.
How do we make sure that we pick the right choices avoiding distasteful and unprofitable experiences? Well, knowing what we want is a good start; being clear and honest with ourselves about what makes us happy. Understanding about ends and means is also important. We make poor choices if we justify the means by how good we think the end will be. We may never gain the end; everyone around will suffer the means that we choose to pursue.
Just as when we are learning to eat, we depend on the example of parents. So we can examine the lives of the saints for guidance about how to live happy and fulfilled lives. But the world has changed. New choices present themselves that never troubled the saints. God blessed us with brains which we can use for just this purpose.
This is not just about making the right choices. It is about being fertile soil in which good things will grow. We need to prepare our bodies and souls to be responsive to potentially great ideas, able to turn them into great actions. I saw a man yesterday, whose stomach was pushing out a T shirt bearing the message “my other body is a temple”. I hoped he didn’t treat his soul like that.