the path chosen

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I was stopped at a red light at one of the cities busier intersections mid-afternoon a few days ago. A pedestrian was taking his turn making his way south via the crosswalk. As the walker got in front of my truck he caught my attention.

It was a guy I knew from high school. I’m pretty good with faces and I definitely recognized him right away although I don’t have a clue what his name might be. I don’t even know for sure which high school I knew him from having attended two.

I do know that time hasn’t been kind to this old classmate…

I’m fascinated with the paths we choose in life and how they’ll cross back over the people’s paths who we once shared a common path with. Our paths go on for so long and there are so many forks in the roads that eventually the people we started our journey with are gone. We eventually have to navigate our paths without the friends or acquaintances we started the journey with.

That old familiar face took me to thoughts and places I haven’t visited in my mind for some time.

I recall Joe, we lived in the same neighborhood, had a few classes together in high school and both of us were on the football team. We shared the same path or sidewalk to and from school every day.

One spring morning Joe, who was usually walking a little behind me happened to be in front of me. A man in his late 20’s in blue Dodge Demon ran a red light, hit Joe and Mark in the middle of the crosswalk just in front of me.

Mark, although busted up drug himself of to the side of the road. Joe laid there with bleeding head injuries, he lost his life that afternoon in the hospital. Joe’s path ended in that crosswalk early spring many years ago.

The old adage, “it’s nice to see a familiar face” has some meaning to it. It’s enjoyable to catch up, reminisce and share time with people we’ve shared some of our life with. Isn’t that why school reunions are so popular?

I love the movies based on true stories where at the end they give the viewer “where are they now” wrap-ups. Even the fiction movies wraps have something very powerful and drawing to our human hearts.

I remember as much about the fictional summaries of the stars in American Graffiti as I do the movie itself.

As time goes on I find it a little easier to pick out the people who have taken intentional paths and the others that kind of roll with the flow or take the path chosen to strike their fancy without much thought to their eventual destination.

In truth I jumped paths in my early adult life leaving some important parts of my life up to fate, sometimes I’d believe myself to be bigger than life, able to control with my hand, heart, and mind the paths regardless of the direction they were headed.

Maybe the paths that zig-zag and cross each other throughout our lives is for a purpose. Maybe we’re supposed to share with others who’ve taken some wrong turns along the way directions to the path that leads to everything they’ve been searching for their entire life.

To navigate the paths of this world in search of peace, joy, and meaning without the designer and Creator of all paths and lives guiding us is like trying to find a needle in a haystack the size of Texas… It ain’t happnin.’

God says in Proverbs 4:10 “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” (NIV) One of the most famous of all scripture is the 23rd Psalm. For brevity, I’ll only quote part for this purpose.

“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.” “Even though I walk (or my path leads me) through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (NIV)

I watched my nameless classmate clear the south side of the crosswalk and disappear between some stores.

Joe’s path never made it to the other side of the crosswalk…

None of us know when or where our path ends for sure on this earth, but one thing is for certain.

There’s only one straight and narrow path we can choose here that will lead us home…