"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Monday, May 17, 2010


Choice: an act or instance of choosing; selection: Her choice of a computer was made after months of research. His parents were not happy with his choice of friends. 

"I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
"The Road Not Taken"
-Robert Frost

Some years after my first divorce, my "first" mother-in-law (you haven't lived until you have had more than one...just kidding...well, sort of), Karen, asked me a question that I will never forget. I was helping her light candles for their families annual Christmas Eve gathering when she asked me; "What have you learned from the choices you've made in your life?

Before I go any further, I must say that my first wife's family is wonderful and both are families or close to this day. The Swan's have been very loving and caring towards me for as long as I've known them, but when she asked me the question it caught me totally off guard. I was six months into my second divorce (1998) and I could only imagine what was going through Karen's mind. Still she asked the question in the manner a loving mother would ask her child when both knew that there were many wrongs committed.

My answer was less than profound; I said, "Yea, you have to live with them".

It is so easy to make choices and decisions without thinking them through. The main reason for this behavior is that many times we base our decisions on how we feel. If we're not happy we feel that something has to change immediately. We often jump from marriage to marriage, job to job, and from relationship to relationship in search of that quick fix.

The real change often needs to occur in the way we think.

We need to do what is right and let the feelings flow downstream afterward. Charles Stanley, a famous and very wise southern Baptist preacher, likes to say; "Do what is right and leave the consequences to God". When we do what is right we need to have little concern about the consequences. Abraham Lincoln stated; "When I do bad I feel bad and when I do good I feel good". It sounds very simple, but the principle seems to elude all of us.

In the poem "The Road Not Taken" Robert Frost discusses the issue of choice and decision, and how each individual is empowered to choose their own destiny. The poem is one of my personal favorites because it is a reminder to me of one of the greatest gifts God has given us; the gift of "free will". 

The wonderful gift of "free will" enables us to own our decisions daily. 

In Frost's poem he communicates to us the decisions that we make are completely ours and that these decisions make all the difference in the world. Unfortunately, many of us travel down the same road repeatedly, the road that allows us to make choices based on how we feel; often without regard for doing what is right. Show me a person that lives by their feelings and I will show you a very miserable person. 

Feelings are like clouds, some are white and fluffy; others dark and depressive, but both are blown by the winds of circumstance. Circumstances, and thus our feelings, change daily, sometimes they change hourly, and that's why it is so dangerous to let our attitudes and our decisions be dictated by our feelings. Again, show me a person that lives by their feelings and I'll show you a person that is constantly and consistently up and down, and very unhappy. Like Charles Swindoll says; "Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react".

It's all about perspective and attitude.

The decisions that I made for the better part of 14 years were poor. From 1991- 2005 I chose to run down the path of excess. Making decisions based on how I felt and living in the moment was a way of life for me. In its wake are two ex-wives, five children, and plenty of heartache. And at the end of the day, what I have learned is you really do have to live with the decisions you make. I have also learned that with God, and only God, you can recover from any bad decision you make. There will always be consequences for the choices we make, but I found that God can take my bad and make it good. In the book of Joshua, God reveals to us that "He will not leave you nor forsake you". (Joshua 1:5)

Even though I turned my back on Him, based on the decisions I made, He never left me.

I have found, for me personally, that the best decision that I could make for me and my family was to make a decision to give my entire life to Jesus Christ. To claim him as my personal savior and to make choices that reflect the very personal decision I made. 

The psalmist, some 3000 years ago, wrote something similar to what Frost described in his poem concerning the choice we have between taking two different paths.  Psalms 1:1-3 states; "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."    

I wish I could say that the choice was simple for me to choose to have a personal relationship with Christ; the reality is that it wasn't. I fought to have my own way and to live life according to my perceived needs and selfish desires; not living accordingly to what God had planned for me. Jeremiah 20:11 states that God knows the plan he has for me and that they are to give me a "future and a hope" and that they are "plans for good and not for disaster". After reading that I realize the choice is simple...choose Him.

Thanks Karen for caring enough to ask me such a thought provoking and life altering question many years ago. Life really is about the choices we make.

sbb  17.5.2010   (People Get Ready  .  The Impressions)  .  1105

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