Stepping off the path…

Last night I went for a long walk in McArthur. In some parts of town that means I walked in a well lit area and had no reason to be concerned of finding obstacles in my way. In other parts of town, however, the streets were very dark and I had to rely on the small amount of light that was shining from other areas to provide me with enough illumination to know where to put my feet down with each step I took. I did have my cell phone with me and could have used that to provide a guiding light for myself, but instead I was Facebooking, which means the light wasn’t shining on the road, it was shining in my eyes and making it even more difficult to see where I was going. Instead of walking in a straight line I was all over the road. I stepped of the sidewalk into the street or into the grass on the other side. I learned that texting and driving is far easier than texting and walking, especially in the dark. I think next time I go for a walk at night I will leave my phone in my pocket so I don’t get picked up for public intoxication.

It seems like the older I get the more my walk in life becomes like my walk through McArthur. I have one set direction – a set path I want to walk in, but I find myself distracted by other things that throw me off course and make me step off the path. The road is darkened by the night and the distractions are too heavy at times for me to find my way. I’ve stepped off the path far too many times, it seems, and I wish I could just get to where I’m wanting to go. I can’t. I’m intoxicated by the world around me and my fullest potential cannot be reached this way.

I want to walk a straight line. I want to walk tall and bold. I want to stand above the crowd. Somehow, somewhere along this path I got off track. I stepped off of the course and my walk led me astray. I’m just a simple man and I don’t know much, but I know this: It is so much easier to work to build someone else’s dream than it is to work on building your own. I’m going to keep walking. I’m sure I’ll step off of the path again..and again, and again, and again. I may never even get to where I’m going because of my inability to walk straight, but I’m going to walk. I’m sure most people who are reading this have stepped off the path in their own lives at times. Some may have their foot in the grass right now wondering how they ever got away from where they were wanting to go. I bet we all get this way sometimes. Let’s all continue to fight through our distractions and keep our feet moving one right in front of the other. I think death may be the only destination we ever actually reach in life and the only thing that should matter to us is the steps we’ve taken all along the way. Sometimes I feel like people are critical of my walk. To those people I would like to say this: I don’t walk this road for you. I walk it for me. If you don’t like where I’m going, watch out, because you’re probably going to put your foot in a ditch. You should probably be focused on your own steps, not mine. Get back on the path.

Out of Control…

I rushed out to the scene of an accident a few days ago to find a young man standing next to his smashed up vehicle. He had rear-ended the lady in front of him on his way home from school. He had told me that he hit his brakes to stop before hitting the car in front of him, but it was too late. He had lost control of his vehicle. The impact not only affected him and the driver in front of him, but it affected another driver as well. Three cars in all were damaged because of the accident. I felt sorry for the young man as he explained what had happened. We all have moments in which we momentarily lose control. Unfortunately, some are not as lucky as others when it comes to the time and place those moments take place. I noticed that the young man was very respectful when he talked to me, even though he had just encountered a crisis. I wish more people would be so open to make you feel welcome in their lives in spite of what condition they may be in.

The wreck with the young man is not the only wreck I have been on the scene of here recently. I have been to several, and most of them are the same story. The driver momentarily loses control, for whatever reason, and is unable to keep the vehicle on the road. Some of these wrecks looked like they would be impossible to have brought about a different outcome no matter who was driving. Even though these drivers may be listed as being at fault, I think we all understand there are circumstances that can always cause us to lose control, if even for a moment. It is very humbling to consider the lives of the people involved in these accidents. Whether they were injured or not, they are all affected by something that I would say is very devastating. I don’t think a person can ever be prepared enough for the life changing events that take place in these types of situations.

Maybe, in some way, I do understand what these people are going through. I feel like I have lost some control in my own life here recently. To be honest, I don’t know if there is a stopping point. I don’t know if I will be able to correct the course that I have taken, or if I will have to crash and view the results later. It is one thing to lose control behind the wheel of a vehicle. It is quiet another to lose control behind the wheel of a family. Both can cause devastating consequences. I only hope that my loss of control doesn’t break me or injure me in such a way that I can’t recover. I’m not going to lie. I fear the unknown. I feel like my wheel has went off the berm and I can’t get it back on the road. Where will I hit? I fear the impact of what will happen next.

I know most people try to keep a positive attitude, and I do too. My fears do not extend to my knowledge or understanding of who I am as a person. I trust with full confidence that I am good enough to travel any road. But so are these vehicles that I find busted and dented up on the side of the road. I don’t think anyone understands how difficult my tragedy is. In the same way, I don’t understand how difficult the tragedies of these people in these accidents are. We all face our own struggles. Mine are overwhelming me right now. I don’t know if I can keep my head above water. I’m drowning here. Is there hope? I don’t know. What I do know is I need a crew to rescue me when I hit. I feel like I’m almost there. I try to prepare for the best, but still, I fear the worst. I lost control. I’m not used to not having control. Like the rescue crews I see on the scene of these accidents all the time, I hope someone is there for me when I hit.

Navigator down…

Yesterday I decided to travel to West Virginia to visit with my girlfriend who is moving there for a job that she just started working recently.  Unfamiliar with the territory, I decided to use the gps on my phone to navigate the course to the hotel she is staying in.  I was probably about half way into my trip before I realized there is something wrong with my gps.  It refused to work for me.  I was without direction.  Luckily, i remembered the route in my head from when I looked it up earlier in the day.  I arrived at the hotel with no problems, but I did show up with an understanding that I need to figure out why the gps on my phone isn’t working.  I could have easily gotten lost if I had not remembered the directions.

It is always nice to have a voice to tell you which turn is the right one.  It helps to know which road we are on and which one is coming next.  It is comforting to know there is a turn coming up that we previously were not aware of.  These are the kind of things gps will point out to us, but without them, we must navigate on our own.

I feel like this is the lesson we need to learn in life.  All of us can appreciate that voice telling us where to go and how to get there, but many of us are finding our own way.  Most of us do not have the course mapped out for us.  The best chance we have is to take the turns that seem to be the right ones, and hope we end up where we set out to go.  The answer is coming to us in spoken form, but it comes with a good educated guess and hopes of heading in the right direction.

The promising thing for me was that I did have a map to look at before I left.  Although I relied heavily on my memory to get me to my destination, I was able to get there without a navigation system.  I think the reason why most people don’t get to the place they were wanting to go is they didn’t take a moment to look over the map before they got on the road.  Without the map, finding direction is an impossible task.   You will get lost, and you most likely live that way.

Take a moment to map out your course before you make a move on the road of life.  Your gps system may fail you, but with the proper direction locked into your mind, you can get there.  You can and will succeed in finding your destination in life if you take the time to seek for proper direction.

I realize that sometimes I am late or have tried to drive the course alone.  Maybe I went with no gps, no map and no voice to tell me where I am or where I’m going.  I went alone.  Still, I never think it’s too late to look at a map and get on course.  This way, every step I take from here on I will know where I am, and know exactly how to get to where I’m going.  I might feel a little uncertain without my gps, but with the directions in my head, I can and will get there.  You can too.  Map it out.