I was listening to a podcast earlier today and included was a story by the maker of the podcast about needing directions. He normally depended upon OnStar or a similar company for getting directions to a place he hadn’t been before. However, when he pressed the button which should’ve connected him to the service he discovered his subscription had run out. After many phone calls, credit card numbers, VIN numbers and a host of other hurdles he still doesn’t have service and doesn’t know what to do! The person telling the story is a funny guy and told it in a humorous way but you could tell it was also aggravating to him to put this much time and energy into it and still have nothing to show for it.
Each of us has a voice in our heads which tells us how to best navigate the path of life. For some, the voice is positive and good with directions. However, for others, the voice is negative and gives us directions which are wrong and we end up frustrated and desperate. These voices come from
These voices come from a myriad of places; people and places we grew up, mental health issues, trauma in our young or adult lives, being with an individual or group of people who treat us poorly. The voice can tell us We’re stupid, lead us to travel in circles never getting anywhere, or traumatize us to the point we can’t move.
Understanding where our voices come from and being able to identify if they are positive or negative can go a long way in making sure we are able to live a life of purpose and vision. If we have voices which aren’t good for us we can find others. Having a “subscription” to the right voices goes a long way in keeping us on the path toward health and wellness.
The lecture was over and most of the attendees had exited the room. One stayed seated finishing up his notes and another loitered near the door. I knew he wanted to ask me a question but wasn’t sure how to get started so I looked at him and inquired; “How’s your day going?” It was enough to break the ice and we chatted for a few moments until he found the courage to vocalize what was on his heart and mind. “I have someone in my life who is important to me. I love them but they aren’t good for me. If I go back to them I’ll follow them down a path which will lead to my eventual destruction and death.” I followed up; “So, what do you think you should do?” He sat down and sighed; “I have to leave them. They can’t be a part of my life.” I could tell this was a difficult choice and his heart was hurting. I looked him in the eye and said; “It’s a tough decision but you have to choose what doesn’t harm you and will allow you to live fully.”
One of the most painful things we’ll do in our lives is saying goodbye to someone we care about but whose influence upon us leads us away from peace, wisdom and purpose. It may be a family member or a long time friend. This person may have been a sounding board, supporter, provider, even at times a protector but they also bring troubles, trauma and temptation into our lives. Because of our history with them, the bond that exists, its hard to let them go and walk away but inside of us there is a growing realization that separation is the only option which leads to our survival.
The young man and I spoke a few minutes more. He thanked me as I packed up my things and headed toward the door. I turned and looked at him as I walked through the doorway; “Make good choices.” I told him. “I will.” he assured me. Walking down the hall and exiting the building I hoped he had enough strength and courage to say; “Goodbye.” to the things and people in his life who would stop him from continuing to move in the right direction.
Earlier this week the Mrs. stopped by Lowe’s to pick up a few things. As she was perusing the Garden section she noticed a few Palms were on sale. They were drastically discounted because of being out of season and the damage they had sustained over the course of the summer. The plants had been treated badly, passed over, pushed aside, limbs bent, broken and now almost given away for free. Their value to the store was decreasing each day. To see them go out the door was good news for the bottom line.
Beth picked out a couple, brought them home and now the recovery begins. We will replant, prune, add nutrients, give them love and tenderness. It will take a commitment of care from us if these discounted, almost discarded, plants are going to survive and hopefully, one day, thrive.
In our lives we come across people who have also been discounted. They’ve suffered pain and abuse, heartache and trauma. Folks have tried to help, attempted to assist them, but they seem beyond aid. Others have written them off as a loss and hope someone will take the burden of a wounded soul off their hands.
People all around us have been set aside, discarded, seen and treated as less than. The question becomes; “Are we willing to take a chance on a ‘discounted’ life?” There’s risk and responsibility involved. It takes effort, passion and patience to try to help someone find meaning, purpose and worth again.
What they need, each of us need, is hope, a chance to live a full life, someone who will help us when we can’t help ourselves and the belief everyone is worth saving.
Wednesday morning I needed to go to Nashville for a fatherhood regional meeting. I left early to beat the heavy traffic that’s notorious when you’re trying to get into the city. My GPS of choice is Waze. I like the look of it, the ability to alert other drivers of traffic, accidents, construction and be warned if you’re approaching hazards or other difficulties.
With the address plugged in I set out for my destination. Everything was going smoothly and as I approached an area known for a lot of stop and go, standstill traffic, Waze suddenly changed my route. I wasn’t sure what was happening but chose to follow its directions. It exited me off the interstate to another highway then another exit to the right and another right, straight for a few more miles and then another right which brought me back to the same interstate I was on 5 minutes before just a mile or so ahead of my previous spot. It didn’t save me any time or significantly advance my position, it just added anxiety to my journey.
The rest of the trip was event free and as my truck rolled down the road I reflected on our inclination to take short cuts, try to get ahead, around, bypass obstacles on the road of life. If we could we’d skip the painful places, the stressful situations, the locations on the path of life that bring unwanted obstructions, forces us to stop and perhaps wonder if we’ll ever get moving again.
The problem is we can’t steer clear of the unpleasant, traumatic, heartbreaking places of life. We might be able to evade them for a while but sooner or later we must traverse, experience, deal with these or risk being stuck mentally, emotionally and spiritually for a lifetime.
Getting where we need to go often times means going places we’d rather avoid.