DESTINY

I was never a huge Star Wars fan, but in this society it’s difficult to escape the impact those movies had on our culture. I’m even susceptible to “The Force,” I sometimes quote in parody from Darth Vader like everyone else in the world.

I’ll use the low drawn out slightly English imitation voice of James Earl Jones as Vader and say to my little one, “Gurm”… “I am your father”! I’ve even on occasion been known to use it on our dog Larry, same voice, same accent, “Lar”… “You are a loser”! I think he likes it, the kids, not so much.

Of all the quotes by the character of Vader the one that caught and still intrigues me is the one spoken to his son young Skywalker, “Luke, it is your destiny”!

Destiny, pretty cool word to ponder, it’s cousin is the word fate with similar meanings. Even non-Christians have some belief in an invisible power that directs and causes events to happen in people’s lives.

How many times have you heard or even thought about a couple, “They were just meant to be together”! Regarding someone’s death we’ve all heard someone say something like, “His number was up.” When we see or know of a person living a dangerous or reckless life, someone might say something like, “They’re tempting fate”!

Many of us believe since we have intelligence and free will we are the captain of our fate, we steer the ship or direct the paths of our lives and whatever happens is up to us.

This subject has tentacles that reach further and deeper, if we chose to go a certain direction in our lives it must have been that invisible power that gave us the desire in the first place… See what I mean?

Many Christians believe in predestination, after all God knows all things, the number of grains of sand on the seashores, the number of hairs on each and every one of our heads, when a sparrow falls from the sky. But, God also says that all people are called by Him and have the choice to accept and believe or deny Him.

I’m puzzled by some people who talk as if God just whispered the mysteries of the cosmos in their right ear. How do we as humans get our mind around the mind that spoke everything into existence including our souls. The One who supplies the very power that sustains all life at this very second.

If our minds were created by God, pretty good chance we have limits far below His. (sarcasm) I believe in the mind and economy of God that He can give free will to everyone and yet know the outcome.

For those reading to young to know what “The Day The Music Died” is, here’s a quick breakdown. Buddy Holly who was one of the most well-known Rock and Roll icons of the 50’s died in a plane crash in 1959 along with up and comer Ritchie Valens and disc jockey turned singer who went by the stage name of The Big Bopper.

It shocked and changed the music world and impacted a nation. I guess you could say it was fate or destiny that they died, Buddy Holly’s bass player pondered his fate for years after. His name was Waylon Jennings and he gave up his seat on the airplane for J P Richardson, the Big Bopper who had the flu.

Waylon Jennings, like his old boss Buddy Holly, had a deep influence on the music world about 15 years later. Maybe it was that same fate or destiny that was responsible 10 years after “The Day The Music Died” for Waylon Jennings to marry a singer-songwriter Jessi Colter who grew up in a Christian home?

Colter who is still in the music business just released her latest, a Christian/Country CD.

Jennings who lived in the southeast valley (of the sun) passed February 13th, 2002. It’s rumored that Jennings at that point in his life a Christian died with a smile on his face.

Destiny? A simple twist of fate?

I’m thinkin’ the hand of God.

What do you think?

SELF CONTROL VERSUS EMOTION

self control versus emotion

2011 Horizon Girls D-1 Congrats girls! I’m proud of you guys! You played with honor! There is nothing more important than that…

I’ve done my share of ignorant things in my life, probably more than the average bear would be my guess. At an away basketball game, on a fast break I got fouled by the other team’s point guard, who I stole the ball from, as I was going in for a lay-up.

It wasn’t a ticky-tacky foul, I’m talkin’ about a full blown mid-air body block that sent me flying out of bounds almost into the block wall of the gymnasium. The hometown hillbilly ref swallowed his whistle on the assault and turned an evil eye.

It was clear there would be no justice from the loser ref, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Self-control versus emotion. Honor was a word I probably couldn’t spell at the time, much less understand the definition of.

With the brain of an alligator, I ran down court never stopping to reason with what small sized brain I had at the time. The kid was standing pretty much flat-footed when I leveled him with a body block, he actually flew through the air and landed on his elbow.

Mr. cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater ref suddenly found his whistle along with the other hillbilly ref. As I was being escorted from the court into the locker rooms, I saw them walking the other kid I hit out as well. He was holding his elbow, crying…

At the time I felt no remorse, I thought, “Oh, Mr. tough guy can dish it out, but he can’t take it”! I was depressed to not get to play the game I loved. That depression turned to anxiety once I learned after the game that the hometown crowd had turned into an ugly mob and I was considered public enemy number one.

I smiled and waved at the unruly crew once upon the bus as we were driving away. Sticks and stones don’t hurt a bit when protected by the shield of the bus.

The small actions and or decisions made during what seems like insignificant forks in the road are actually much more significant than most of us realize. That decision or action takes us toward what will be our destiny. Our destination will leave what the world and God sees as our legacy. During emotional times we’ll all have to make a decision, that decision will be based on something.

The small actions and decisions made in emotion instead of moral principles may begin by chance or without conscientious calculations. As they become the habit or norm, they begin to define the lives of those who fall prey to the weakness. The weakness we all possess, the thing that we must fight against.

The local girls Lacrosse community was put in an unenviable spot with less than 48 hours before the Division 1 state championship game this week. Mercy, Horizon’s goalie had to have an emergency gall bladder surgery which she is recovering from.

That left Horizon without a goalie, league rules wouldn’t allow for a roster change with less than 48 hours before a game. Enter: One of those life defining moments…

I wonder how the dads and or granddads of the people who voted would have cast their votes? I’m curious if the parents of the ones who didn’t vote would have done the same?

To only allow the less qualified of all choices and select that brave girl to be the opponent doesn’t square with what we all know is honorable. The saddest part for me is the example set for the young impressionable girls…

That simple act will leave an indelible asterisk on this league for the remainder of its existence…

By the way, when we played that team the next time at home I shook the kids hand that I body slammed and apologized.

It didn’t change the past, but it was the right thing to do.

GET IT?

 

 

WORDS OF THE WISE

words of the wise

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I should have known it was going to happen. I promised myself I wouldn’t let it happen. While some of the weaker people gave in or gave up, I refused. I told myself I would be the exception… I was wrong.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I really tried. I went further than most, but in the end I was the same as everyone else… I got older. It wasn’t getting older that I was trying to avoid, it was the actions of an older person that really bothered me.

The sitting, the words of the wise, carrying on about things I thought were inconsequential when I was younger. I heard it all, politics, religion, even some good old-fashioned gossip thrown in the mix. I heard the comparisons of that generation to the next and clearly dismissed it as hogwash spouted from the mouths of older, lazier, jealous folks we use to call fossils. (a play on the age thing!)

The elders spoke of me or my “type” as if they knew me… They didn’t know me! I was different! I was smarter, I had more wisdom, I had more desire… I was dumb.

They did know me, worse yet, the knew all of us, even better than we knew ourselves. Our words didn’t count for much to that generation. Many times while trying to convince them of what I thought was their lacking of understanding, they just smiled and nodded. They knew what I was decades from comprehending, talk is cheap. They were cleverly watching our actions.

That more mature group of people wasn’t about to have an argument with a fool… I guess they possessed entirely too much wisdom for that game of tic-tac-toe.

How could I have been so wrong? The answer is even more clear than the big “E” on the eye chart from 2 feet away. — Foolishness.

To ignore the advice from people who’ve already been where we are and who we know have our best interest at heart in hindsight feels a bit like insanity.

Time has a way of changing things, whether we want it to or not. In some ways, the changes aren’t pleasant. It was relatively easy to be dumb and happy. The aches and pains purchased with the abundance of ignorance that comes with youth is a gift I’d like to return for a full refund, but I didn’t read the fine print…

All sales and actions along with the consequences that went along with them were non-refundable. Wish I’d have gotten that extended warranty on these eyes as well. I’d rather not have to wear these spectacles to see what I’m sharing with you now.

On the other side of that coin, I find the profile of a man wiser than he was when he was young. Most of us can relate to that. I realize the words spoken by the generations before us, in majority, were said because they cared. They had love for the people in their lives and in most cases they had love for their country.

That group of a little wiser people believed that the people born in this country were born into a blessing or gift from God. The generations preceding us had passion for the character of the people with God’s word as the foundation of that character.

I now sit in the place where great people once sat. I have that responsibility to share truth with the ones next in line for this chair, whether they listen or not.

When I share with them how the things of the greatest value and gratification in this world are earned and that the only one truly free life-giving gift comes from God, then they roll their eyes, what will I do?

I’ll smile as I nod my head, then I’ll keep talking, writing, and remembering.

Knowing one day, it will all make sense.

Then it will be their turn.

 

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?

see what I see

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As I pulled up to the intersection I really wasn’t paying too close attention to my surroundings. My mind was racing, preparing for a busy work day and a Lacrosse game that evening with the team that had defeated us the last time we played them, which was the state championship the year before.

To say I was focused would be a misrepresentation of the facts… I was obsessed, on a mission, intent on accomplishing all my plans and desires. Not many things in this life could have broken the trance I was in that morning.

I was more like a robot or wild animal, kind of like a Pitbull going after its prey. Kill or be killed. That’s when God intervened. He knew what would snap me out of the trance. It was my weakness… God used what He designed as my Kryptonite.

It happened on the entrance to the street I live on. A dead end street, one way in and one way out. I’d pulled up to that intersection for years and never saw what I did that day.

It was the stick that caught my eye first. The movement right above the ground back and forth. As the stick moved back and forth the person on the other end of the stick would come into view.

I put it all together more quickly than I can describe the scene. There she was a tall thin girl. She was young, obviously walking to the high school where I coached, she was still about a mile from the school.

I stopped abruptly short, she glanced toward the ground in my direction as she heard my truck pull up. She couldn’t see me… She was blind…she doesn’t see what I see.

I watched as the young girl tapped to discover the curb, gutter, and street as she passed slowly, cautiously toward school.

Then I saw him about 20 feet behind her. A man with a more simple agenda than mine for the day, but an agenda light years more important than mine for the day. He was training his daughter to navigate through a dangerous world where someday he wouldn’t be to guide and protect the apple of his eye.

In a matter of less than three seconds, I was changed for the day and in some small way for a lifetime. My heart was immediately melted, it was similar to the Grinch who finally found his heart.

Most of us take for granted the simple gifts in this life. I think of the times spent with my daughters pointing out blooming flowers, sky cracking lightning, snowflakes and sunsets to name a few.

Being successful at business or work and winning a Lacrosse game isn’t as important as understanding the simple things in life are God’s priority and should be ours as well.

The dad of that young girl is reminded every day of the simple gifts and the priorities in life. I imagined myself in the shoes of that dad walking behind his blind daughter teaching her the lessons of this life without the advantage of her eyes working.

It’s a tough life sometimes even with all of our senses working sufficiently. Take one of them away and life gets infinitely tougher.

I worry a bit for my girls, we’ve spent a great deal of time trying to prepare them for a world without us. If we haven’t prepared them for the basics and taught them where danger lies ahead in life, then we’ve failed them.

In other ways, sometimes our senses can be a handicap… If we trust too much in the temporary world and flesh that can be measured by our senses, we’ll miss the whole reason for having been here.

God used that blind girl on that particular day to help me see beyond what I can with my eyes.

I like to think she can see clearly her path beyond this life…

And it is beautiful…

 

FORT FOREVER

fort forever

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Boredom was one of the key ingredients that fueled my desire to design, create, and build things. My brothers talked me into trading my bicycle for a motorcycle. The only problem was the old faded yellow Honda didn’t work…

I’m sure my brothers had good intentions to fix it, they just never got around to it. At nine or ten years of age, my mechanical skills were lacking or more appropriately non-existent.

When I saw the gas line on my motorcycle cut one day, I knew a couple of things. One of my brothers were broke and needed gas for his motorcycle. I also knew that day my motorcycle that I’d traded a perfectly good ten-speed for, would never be ridden by me…

I’ll save that specific ending to that story and throwing my big brothers under the proverbial bus for another time.

There were two other kids who lived fairly close in our rural neighborhood both named Bobby. Bobby Goin didn’t have a bike either and if Bobby Kopus was going to hang out with us and build forts, his bike wouldn’t be necessary.

We’d pack scrap lumber from miles around where they were building new houses back to a wash strategically located in the middle of our respective homes. I’d built forts before, but this was the creme de la creme, the Taj Mahal of kid’s forts.

Our fort evolved into a three story fort, a floor for each of us and it included a conference room on the first floor, it also had a waterless moat on one side. If you weren’t young or a billy goat it was almost impossible to get to.

The only mental focus I possessed at that time in my life was when I was playing. Turns out designing and building was playing for me. Interestingly enough it still is…

That is what I do as an adult to make a living and take care of my family. Even though the people across my lifetime kept telling me to “grow up,” I never got around to it.

I read a post by Jake at  http://verymuchlater.com/ last week that reminded me of the fact that most things in life, as well as writing, have similarities to building things. Even dreams and desires we all have in our mind for our lives or our children’s lives start with the vision, dream, or desire.

Common sense dictates in order to fulfill that desire or dream we must put in place a plan, map, or design a way to get us there.

I’ve met some very interesting people in my life that are quick to point out the fact that they aren’t artistic or creative. Many of whom have designed, built, and have painted a magnificent life.

A few years back after rediscovering writing, I told my wife with the excitement of a kid, “Writing or creating stories is just like designing a home”! Since that time, it’s become even more evident that all of us are designers and builders.

We don’t all use sticks and bricks to build things, but we all use common ingredients to build the dreams of our lives. I’ve also come to believe the most precious asset we have isn’t boredom like it was when I was a kid. I’m thankful for that ingredient of boredom that forced me to be able to use and find this key asset of the imagination.

It took a long time and a lot of work as kids to build that fort. When we were finished all of us realized that the best part of that fort was the dream, the work, and the gratification from the entire process.

I’ve loved that process ever since I was a kid.

I believe it is a gift from God. A fort forever…

I believe we all have the gift to be builders. So the question becomes…

What does your blue print look like?