WWYD: What Would You Do?

Last weekend, my oldest asked me, “Dad if you could change something in your past, what would it be?”  That was definitely a random question from him but, not unusual.  He’s definitely the analyst between he and his brother.  We had just seen the latest Terminator movie so, I am going to assume that this is where the question came from.  Anyway, as we pulled into Target to waste some time before going home, I thought about his question so that I could give a halfway intelligent answer.  I said to him, “I don’t think I would change a thing.  If I were to go back too far, then you and your brother wouldn’t be here.  If I didn’t go back far enough, then I may not be where I am at this point in my life.  I’m cool where I am.”

That conversation made me think a little more.  What if we were able to go back and change some things in our lives?  I’m not just talking about the bad stuff.  I mean, anything.  If I could change the fact that I got out of the Army and stayed in, I would have more than likely been deployed to God knows where for God knows how long.  More importantly, there would be a question of would I make it out alive?  If I could change the fact that I was laid off more than once, there’s a possibility that I could have been a decent job making good money.  The flip side is that I could have missed out on some of the experiences that I have had that, quite frankly, have given me some life lessons that I so desperately needed.  I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that the things that have happened in our lives have all be for a reason.  Yes, some of them have been bad choices and other good ones.  If you’ve made some bad choices in your life, I pray that you have learned from them so that you can be better than who you were back then.  If you’ve made some good choices in your life, I pray that you can appreciate them and hopefully cherish them over and over.  Here’s the rub:  The bad choices are only relative to the time that they occurred.  I’d like to think that the so-called bad choices enabled me to grow, learn more about myself, push abilities to their limits and, more importantly, learn how to rely on God.  If every choice I made was good in my eyes, then what would have really learned? How could I grow as a man, father, etc?  How would I learn how to rely on God?  Definitely something to think about, isn’t it?

The next time someone asks you “what would you change?”, think about where you are now and what you could lose if you did change it.  I’m pretty sure you’d be happy where you are.

A Plank, A Fork in the Road, and A Blindfold

If you’ve ever seen some of those old pirate movies, there was always a scene where someone, who was caught by the pirates, forced to “walk the plank”.  The plank I’m speaking of was basically made of wood and stretched out from the side of the ship.  The prisoner had to literally walk on that piece of wood, to the edge, and fall off into the water.  Did I mention that their hands were tied and that they were blindfolded?  Yeah,  that too.  Needless to say, right as the prisoner was taking that last step, the hero of the film would come in at the last second and save said prisoner from certain death.  If you’ve never seen that, try this scenario.  You’re walking along a path and you come to a fork in the road.  You have to choose which way to go.  You have no idea what awaits you but, there is still a choice to be made and, no you can’t just sit there at the fork in the road! You have to make a decision.  Oh, by the way, you’re blindfolded.  What to do?

 

Well, Proverbs 3:5-6 says to trust God with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.  This means that you shouldn’t go into something without faith.  Sure you can go straight ahead and with whatever decision you want to make but be careful.  That path you choose may not be the best one for you.  Plus, you’re going in blind so, how can you even see where you’re going?  If and when you trust God, He will put you in on a path of His choosing.  Sometimes, it’s a blessing and sometimes, it’s a blessing to others, and sometimes, it’s a lesson.  You never really know what’s ahead because, well, we’re not God.  He is God so, he already knows what’s in store for you.  You can keep the blindfold.  Just be sure you’re trusting the right person.

Don’t Look Down!!!

“Calm down doctor. Now is not the time for fear. That comes later…” This is one the best lines from Dark Knight Rises. If you’re not familiar with the movie (seriously?), this is the scene where Bane and his cohorts have hijacked a plane belonging to the CIA that is carrying Dr. Pavel. Bane has captured Dr. Pavel and assured him that being afraid now won’t do him any good but, later he should be.

I remember, back in my Army days, there was always some sort of training that we had to do, Especially in Basic Training. On one particular day, we had to go through, what’s called, the Confidence Course. This was a series of obstacles that ran a few hundred yards. Along the course there were a myriad of obstacles that you had to negotiate. Some required crawling while others required, jumping, running, rolling, etc. However there was one obstacle that almost everyone feared. This was the one where you had to climb up and over at a pretty decent height. Sure, there were some that were able to get passed it but, there were many of us that were not. You heard the usual calls of motivation as well as tricks to get over it.

“Just keep your eyes forward…”

“Don’t look down…”

I could go on and on. The thing about it was that there could have been a million tricks but if you have a fear, there is no point in wasting your breath. Fortunately for me, I was successful at climbing but, because of my height, I was at a disadvantage. Still, I had to get over the wall. It took me two times but, I made it. However my greatest challenge was when I went rappelling for the first time. The wall in basic training was tough however, a 50 ft tower is a totally different animal. Not only was it high, this time, I had to rappel down the front. I was fitted with a harness and climbed the tower. Once they gave me a class on rappelling, it was my time to go over the edge (insert scared face). As I got into position, my heart was racing faster than a zebra being chased by a lion. I was over the edge but I wasn’t going anywhere. I was stuck. My friend told me that I had to kick away from the wall and pull my back arm away from my body loosening the rope. I was still at the top so I wasn’t able to kick very far but, when I started my descent, I was moving! It was all over after about three kicks.

After I got done, I went back a few more times because it got easier once I faced my fear. Noticed I said “face” and not “overcome”. The way I see it, we never really stop being afraid. We face the fear by looking straight at it and then we go on ahead. This reminds me of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. He tells him to not be afraid because that’s not how God operates. He doesn’t give us the spirit of fear. That comes from the enemy. God gives us the spirit of love and a sound mind. We go through life everyday thinking about ways to not do something because of fear. Myself included. There have been many times since leaving the army where I was afraid. I had a fear of the unknown. Even after my divorce there was still some fear. I had to push through and face it all. You can too…