2017-02-24 / Chaplain's News

Intersections while walking on the path of life

Garrison Chaplain’s Office

“Life is a web of intersections and choices. Your first choice is to recognize an intersection. Your second choice is to be grateful for it.” — Ryan Lilly

There is diversity in my musical tastes. I am a product of the times, the people who crossed my path in life and where I lived. I was born in 1963 and my parent’s music was from the 1960s. I grew up in New Orleans (jazz), mainline church, high school in the late 70s (classic rock, no disco), college (the first time) in the early 80s (new wave/punk), seminary in Austin, Texas (blues). My musical journey has been diverse and it was influenced by choices I made at the various intersections of my journey through life.

In 1991, Marc Cohn released one of my favorite songs: “Walking in Memphis.” It is the story of a young musician’s trip to Memphis. He walks with his feet “10 feet off of Beale,” the street where the Blues were born. He visits Graceland and pays homage to Elvis. He discovers W.C. Handy who first wrote down the old spirituals. He moves through the piano bars and experiences the gospel meetings. His trip reminds the artist of the musical traditions of our country. And it was at the intersection of those various traditions that the artist finds himself and his voice.

Our life journey is a path. Our continued movement forward in life is directed by the decisions made at the intersection of many roads: faith, Family, friends, choices made and others rejected, forgiveness and condemnation, love and hate. In many cases, we learn through the example set by others. Sometimes we say “I will follow,” and other times, “I choose a different path.”

On the path of life, there will be many intersections that will require you to make a decision.

• To love or hate;

• Support or walk away;

• Speak out or remain silent;

Some minimal. Others monumental. Each will influence the direction you go and will either help or stifle finding yourself and your voice in this world.

On the path of life, there will be many people who will influence your journey by the decisions they make about you.

• Loved or hated;

• Supported or left alone;

• Voices in support or utter silence;

Each will require you to make a decision. That decision will influence your direction, faith, attitude, vision and the lens through which you see the surrounding world. It will shape your choice to love, to hate, to be angry, to forgive, to keep moving onward or change direction. The decisions will either help or stifle finding yourself and your voice in this world. While you cannot always control the decisions of others, you can control your response, your outlook, your resources, and the choices you make.

Life is a journey, a walk through time, intersecting pivotal life decisions and experiences. Take time to listen and learn. And then lead and inspire others.

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