Life Lessons – The Consequences Of Right And Wrong

by Sherry Riter in Lessons of Life

driving in rain long road

Since starting this blog, I’ve never gone four days without writing a post. Even during the worst of my PTSD, I still wrote and shared my thoughts, emotions and life. Well, I can’t say that anymore. I wish that you could hear me read this post because I think the sound of my voice and the inflection in my tone would make the message reach you in a more profound way.

We often hear that life is a journey. That statement sounds so…trite. Sometimes it actually sounds stupid. I understand that life is to be enjoyed every step of the way and that we are to glean all we can from each minute. It is impossible to have only positive, happy moments throughout one’s life. For me it is also hard to always see the glass half full or believe in the big picture of eventual happiness.

Life is often confusing or hard because of choices. Part of the reason why we don’t always make the right choice is because we don’t always know what to choose. There isn’t a loud voice that can be heard speaking from Heaven. There’s no compass to direct every move we make and the answer to every question can’t be found in a book or on the Internet. Other times we don’t make the right choice because we give in to temptation and are weak or we are scared of rejection, embarrassment and/or losing something important.

We can listen to the advice from other people about things they have learned through experience. We can read self-help books that give us tips of how to cope with our weaknesses. We can go to therapy to learn how to improve our condition and character. When it comes right down to it, sometimes there are lessons that we must learn through the experience of living. We can’t be spared from all pain.

Let me give you a few examples of things that no matter how much you read about them or what people tell you about them or how often you see them happen, you never fully comprehend the impact they will have on your emotions and life until they happen to you.

  • The birth of a child
  • The birth of a child after trying to conceive for many years
  • A miscarriage
  • The death of a child when he/she is a young baby
  • The death of a child when he/she has already graduated from high school
  • The death of a parent or sibling
  • The death of a friend
  • The death of a pet
  • A home fire
  • A car crash
  • A car crash that flips the car
  • A car crash that kills someone
  • Being laid off from a job
  • Being fired from a job
  • Being held at gun point
  • Being kidnapped
  • Being shot or stabbed
  • Being married
  • Being divorced
  • Being verbally abused
  • Being physically abused
  • Cheating or being cheated on
  • Being bullied
  • Being robbed
  • Being hungry or starving
  • Overeating
  • Being drunk
  • Speaking in front of a large group
  • Failing at something important
  • Succeeding at something important
  • Being high or loopy from drugs
  • Hating someone or being hated
  • Loving someone or being loved
  • Loving two people at once – torn between two lovers
  • Being jealous or having someone be jealous of you
  • Lying or being lied to
  • Feeling guilt
  • Feeling disappointment
  • Feeling rejected and/or ignored
  • Being embarrassed
  • Feeling proud
  • Feeling that you matter, count, make a difference, have inherent value
  • Feeling needed
  • Being happy
  • Being surprised
  • Being trusted
  • The thrill of learning how to read
  • Dancing in the rain
  • Walking hand in hand
  • Kissing
  • Making love
  • Swimming under water
  • Feeling the wind
  • Smelling the crisp mountain air
  • Hearing the crashing waves on the beach with your toes buried in the sand
  • Being diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • Losing a limb or one of your senses
  • Being unable to care for yourself and dependent on others
  • Being depressed
  • Wanting and/or planning/trying to kill yourself
  • Someone you know/love commits suicide
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Having a broken heart
  • Being in love
  • Being lonely
  • Being scared
  • Being homeless
  • Dying

Quite a list don’t you think?

Yes, those things on the list make up life. Your life. My life. Other people’s life. We won’t experience all of them, but they are all experienced by someone every minute of every day.

With so many opportunities to experience unhappiness, why is the journey of life worth living?

How can we gain the most happiness possible and the least amount of unhappiness?

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.” – C.S. Lewis

The Consequences Of Right And Wrong

“If only I could go back” is a statement that is often heard. On the one hand it is a total waste of time to even think about it, but on the other hand it is a reminder of why we are in our present condition and how to avoid something equally or more miserable in the future.

The act of choosing guarantees a consequence. We can choose right or wrong and the consequence will be good or bad. Usually right choices bringS about good experiences and wrong choices cause a bad experience, however there are many exceptions to this rule. Sometimes you can make all the right choices and because other people also have agency, the outcome will still cause you pain and/or unhappiness.

That stinks! Why make the right and good choice if it doesn’t guarantee happiness?!

Nothing in life is guaranteed except for our death. Nothing else is a sure thing. Absolutely, positively nothing.

Let me give you an example.

A man steals a car.
The police catch him in the act of stealing the car.
The man hires an excellent attorney.
The attorney convinces the jury that the man wasn’t really stealing the car.
The charge of theft is dismissed and the the thief is set free without a consequence for his action.

Life is not always fair.

Let me give you another example.

I want to have peace and an easy love that I can depend upon not only in good times, but in bad times too. I want to know that when a man kisses me, it is me he’s kissing not another woman in his mind. I want to be the phone call that he can’t hardly wait to make in order to share an experience. I want to be the text that he’s excited to get. I want to be the face that he wants to see at the end of the day. I want to be the woman he wants to grow old with because he loves me and only me.

So I date, get married, it doesn’t work out, so I get divorced and move 1500 miles away from all the memories.

Then I date, get engaged, discover that he cheats on me, so I break off the engagement and never see him again.

Eventually I date, get married and once again it doesn’t work out, so I get divorced.

Not such a great track record.

I deserve to have a man who is honest and faithful to me because he wants to share every aspect of his life and he has the desire to be faithful. He wants to be faithful because he loves me different than he loves any other woman. I am special to him. He loves me because he loves me just as I am. He wants to be just with me because I make his heart smile and not because the one he really loves isn’t available or because he’s just sick of being alone.

So I know what I want and I have a pretty good idea of how to get to know someone, but there is no guarantee that the person I love will end up loving me the way I want and need to be loved. There is no guarantee that he will remain faithful, honest, trustworthy or that he will even continue to love me.

Although I have a desire for companionship, I can still choose to never date and remain alone. Is that the right choice? Is that the wrong choice? Once again, there will not be a loud voice from Heaven declaring the answer. There hasn’t been a book printed anywhere in the world that has the answer for me. I could search to the end of the Internet and the answer would not be found there either.

There will be a consequence no matter what my choice. If I don’t date, I will not have a companion nor will I ever get married. If I date someone who thinks that it is okay to lie and have other girlfriends after telling me we are an exclusive relationship or if I marry someone who cheats, the consequence of my choice will be that my heart will be broken.

Whether the choice is right or wrong, there will always be a consequence.

That brings me back to the journey of life.

The choices we make along the journey and throughout life will affect our future opportunities and possibilities. Our choices will determine our consequences which in turn affects our emotional happiness or unhappiness, our physical health and our mental capabilities.

The lessons we learn along the journey of life are often not easy. Actually, learning is often quite hard and painful. We are filled with doubt which in turn causes fear to rise up within us. The combination of doubt and fear often lead us to poor choices that cause painful consequences in the long run.

One poor choice often leads to another and another. It’s like that old Prell shampoo commercial…and she told two people who told two people who told two people, etc. If you lie, then cheat, you will have to lie more which will cause you to need to lie more. Like I said, poor choices often lead to more poor choices and the consequence is often unhappiness.

I asked two questions earlier.

With so many opportunities to experience unhappiness, why is the journey of life worth living?

How can we gain the most happiness possible and the least amount of unhappiness?

The journey of life is worth living because when you experience true happiness, joy and love, there are no words to describe the wonderfully intense emotions. The only way to gain the most amount of happiness is to choose the right…period. Do the right thing even when you don’t think anyone is looking or listening. Do the right thing not for a great reward, but do the right thing because it is the right thing.

Choose honor.

Choose truth.

Choose honesty.

Choose faithfulness.

Choose to be kind.

Choose to exhibit trustworthiness.

Choose unconditional love.

Choose dependability.

Choose understanding.

Choose patience.

Choose the right.

Choose the right.

Choose the right.

That was rough…Life’s like that sometimes…Now and then for no good reason a man can figure out, life will just haul off and knock him flat, slam him agin’ the ground so hard it seems like all his insides is busted. But it’s not all like that. A lot of it’s mighty fine, and you can’t afford to waste the good part frettin’ about the bad. That makes it all bad…. Sure, I know – sayin’ it’s one thing and feelin’ it’s another. But I’ll tell you a trick that’s sometimes a big help. When you start lookin’ around for something good to take the place of the bad, as a general rule you can find it. – From the movie Old Yeller

Replace the bad with something good. Don’t remain looking back on the journey of life. Let go of the fear, regret, guilt, bad habits and look around you right now. Today and this very moment is the only one we can control. Fill the moment with goodness which will in turn allow happiness and love to consume your life and soul.

Last, but definitely not least, never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up on obtaining a happy life.

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Skip DeGroot October 5, 2013 at 8:15 am

Life Lessons—–The consequences of right and wrong.

I have been following your blog for sometime now and there are times when I just want to put my arms around you, and say thank you for being able to put my thoughts into words like that.

There is a saying, in trading the financial markets, that markets can either go up, down or sideways, to varying degrees. This means that any position taken in the markets will present any trader with a nearly 70% chance of the position going against him/her right out of the gate, and only a close to 30% chance of going in a positive, (right) direction. As in life, with any choice we make, we always take that risk. That doesn’t mean that the trade will not eventually work out well. When I was a young boy, I remember my Dad, (when I would tell him about my ideas that would excite me), he would make the comment; “It’s fun to dream”. I guess I tend to put hopes and dreams in the same box, and where it isn’t wrong or bad to hope or dream, I can’t base any single trade on hope, although hopes and dreams have been the fire and inspiration to keep me going. I never would have gotten to the point where I am now had it not been for those hopes and dreams that kept me believing.

Robert Duvall made a film in 2003 called Secondhand Lions. Funny how we want to remember certain passages from movies. This passage, to me, was worth keeping;

“Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love—true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in”.


2 Sherry Riter October 5, 2013 at 10:30 am

Thank you for your thoughtful comment Skip and for taking the time to read my blog. The analogy of the financial markets with relation to hopes and dreams is quite thought provoking. I’ll try to remember that just because there is a huge risk and it doesn’t look like it will be worth it, in the end it may work out well. Gotta remember that one.

By the way, I enjoy hugs anytime. 😉


3 Pam October 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Ah, those life choices. I’m struggling through trying to figure out one of my biggest ones right now. It’s not easy. Hopefully I will learn something rather than summing it up as “Maybe I just don’t deserve to be happy.” I’ve always told my four daughters that giving up should never be an option. No matter how bad things may get. And to always do the right thing- even when no one else seems to be. Very insightful post.


4 Sherry Riter October 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Thank you Pam. Never give up on obtaining happiness. {{{hugsss}}}


5 Dixie Whyte October 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Hi Red, I like your blog and reading your post, But I got to tell for me this is the best post ever everything you said is sooooo true. Thank You 100% like


6 Sherry Riter October 11, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Thank you so much Dixie!!! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog posts. {{{hugsss}}}


7 teresa vett October 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Of course I do not have OCD , lol but I sure missed your posts. I may not comment on them all, but I do read them. Some are too sad or disturbing to me to comment on. I get lost for words that would help. This one was a good post, but you know your mom’s view on life. Live every moment given to you by God, look to Him in all things, serve Him and when it gets rough He listens better than anyone else. Not one soul comes to this world trial free…it does not happen. No one knows what another Indian is feeling in his moccasins as he runs with life. You have so much going for you. Do not repeat where you have been. Do not be afraid to try. Take risk that are not going to be fatal. Expect, that word is EXPECT, the best to happen. And finally, have faith in yourself and your Father In Heaven. Know that you are loved by many and most of all your family loves you. I love you.


8 Sherry Riter October 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Thank you for your comment, Mom, and I love you too. I’m sorry that some posts are painful for you to read. They are also painful to write sometimes, but I think they not only help me, but they help other people who can’t or are afraid to express the same emotions. I hope it makes them feel not so alone. Being alone and in pain is the worst feeling of all. Ugh.


9 Marsha R. West October 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

Incredible post, Sherry! I’ll be sharing for sure. Keep on Keeping on is the mantra I cling to. And yes do right, just because it’s the right thing to do. We can’t control what other people do. Only what we do.There’s a lot of power in that thought. Thanks for taking time to write this!


10 Sherry Riter October 11, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Thank you so much! There sure is a lot of power in the thought that we can only control our own actions…unfortunately! You know how much easier life would be if we could control others to prevent being hurt?!


11 Sandy Rawlinson October 20, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Hi Sherry,

Wow, what a great read! This is the first time I’ve read an actual list of the good and the bad that can happen in life and how the choices we make mold part of our journey. You have a gift Sherry, and I’m thankful that you share it with all of us! You’ve made me smile, giggle and even laugh out loud at times. You have also reached places buried so deep within me that I’ve had tears streaming down my cheeks. I never wanted to revisit the darkest places, but no matter how hard I tried to put my pain in a neat little package on the shelf the emotions would sneak out in unhealthy ways. Seeing the glass half full is still a struggle for me. I’m a work in progress.

Your raw honesty and willingness to share challenges me to think. As I was reading the list I was mentally checking the boxes of life that apply to me. Bad things…check, check, check. 🙁 Good things….okay, check, check, check!! 🙂 🙂

Life certainly is made up of choices, consequences and unpredictable circumstances that are out of our control. As you described the reasons for the choices we make I could hear myself say aloud, YES that’s me! Hopefully I’ve accumulated a “bit” of wisdom from the bad choices I’ve made and their consequences. I love the way you describe the feeling of intense joy in life. A perfect example for me is looking into the eyes of my little grandson. He arrived three years ago in the middle of utter chaos. I thank God every day for him and the happiness he brings. Through teaching him about small things like the sun, moon, nature and animals, I have found a new found joy and appreciation for smallest things in life we often take for granted.

With all the bad that goes on around us each day, even our own private emotional or physical battles, I “choose” to persevere and try to be the best person God wants me to be. CHOOSE THE RIGHT!!! God bless you Sherry! 🙂



12 Sherry Riter October 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Thank you Sandy!! 😀

I’m soooooo glad that this post resonated with you. That is the greatest compliment I can receive about my writing.

I’m also very happy that you refuse to give up! God bless you too sweet lady! {{{hugsss}}}


Leave a Comment

"How rare and wonderful is that flash of a moment
when we realize we have discovered a friend."

~William E. Rothschild~

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
I respond back to all comments.


Previous post:

Next post: