The Path We Choose.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”

In front of me are three doors. I have no idea where each one will lead, so I choose the middle. Door Number 2, Please! I figure going down the middle is the path least chosen. Slowly I approach the door and reach forward to the door handle. I being to slowly turn it clockwise. Creeeeeeeeeeeek, is the sound the door makes as I slowly maneuver my wheelchair forward and push open the door. Inside the room is empty. It is nothingness. All black. All dark. With a thought of light, it illuminates to show a room with a man sitting in a chair. “Come in” he says. I enter the room.

“Welcome to your choice” he states in a monotone, deep voice. “In here, you are at the beginning. This room is the beginning of a blank slate.” “But, what if I had chosen another door?” I questioned. “Another door would have led you somewhere else, but you are here and here is where you shall begin.” “Begin what?” I questioned again.

“Your journey, my son.” “But, what about every moment that has led up til now? Don’t those moments count as the beginning any longer?” “not anymore. You have begun a journey down the rabbit hole. From here on, you will never be the same. This experience alone has changed you. You just don’t know it yet.”

“Okay. I am changed. So, now what? What do I do from here?” I asked nervously. “You continue on, but how you continue on is up to you. You are in a room that you decided upon from three doors. In front of you, in this very room, you will see three more doors. Which will you choose?” “Does it matter?” I asked.

“Why yes, it matters, if you want to continue down this path.” Says the man in the chair. “which door will continue me down this path?” “so many questions” The man stated. “You just have to choose and on that path, you shall be.” “So, the door I choose doesn’t matter?” I said inquisitively.
“what only matters,” said the man in the chair, “is that you make your choice and you follow it no matter what.” “No matter what door you choose, you will be lead somewhere. That door could lead to great joys, or it could lead to absolute terrors. But, the choice, is only up to you.”

“You see,” he continued, “Too many people make a choice and then they want to back out, because the choice they made seems too difficult. It seems like it will cause too much pain and the human species doesn’t like pain. They want things to be easy. Little do they know, nothing in life is easy. No matter what door you choose, there will be hardships and there will be great times of joy! The door, matters not.”

So, with that wisdom bestowed upon me I chose the door to the right this time and entered another room. Once again, a man in a chair was there to guide me. This time, I looked at the man, winked and smiled, and asked for a coin. With a flip of the coin I chose, once again, the door in the middle and walked into the next room. Sure, there were times I made a choice of a room that brought me great sorrow, but each time, I made a choice and I dealt with it. Too often, we wish to modify the outcomes of our choices and we make choices that impact others in a negative way. My advice, don’t do that!

Think before you act. No matter what door you choose, your life will go on until it no longer does. But each and every choice you make will have its consequences that you will have to deal with, maybe at that moment and maybe later down the road. Life is hard. Life is full of choices. Every Single Day life has choices. Make them wisely. And when the time comes to help your fellow human beings, DO IT! We are all in this together. Every single door you choose has someone else already in the room. They may be there to impart knowledge on to your next choice, or they may be there because they need some assistance from you. Take them with you and grow together. The entire point of every one of our journeys can be summed up in one word– Relationships. We are here to relate and you cannot do that by passing by every single person you ever meet. The path we choose not only impacts ourselves, but it impacts others as we come in contact with them. So, choose wisely. The ultimate question you need to ask during this journey is what will you do? Everything, Anything or Nothing? The choice is yours.

No Path Uncharted.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Alma Mater.”

Dear Students of Montevideo Senior High,

You are embarking upon a great and arduous journey. A journey that some of you won’t make it more than a few more years (I hope I am wrong, but statistics say I am not). A journey that will take some of you the next eighty plus years. You currently have plans. I am here to tell you, those plans will probably change. You may go to college. You may fail out of college (I did a couple times). You may get married (again, I did, twice). You may have kids. You may not do any of these things.

Life can throw surprises at you that you never saw coming. Maybe you will contract a disease. Maybe you will cure a disease. The key is, no matter what, stand firm in your beliefs and your resolve to fight through whatever comes. This life is ravaged with battles and you will have your scars. Do not let them define you!

There are those who say this life is what we make it. I say, life is a surprise. Take it as it comes in all its glorious forms and make the most of every opportunity you can. You never know when your opportunities will be up. You never know when, after years and years, an opportunity will reemerge in a different form than you originally considered. The only regret most people have is the opportunities they didn’t take. So, jump on board with anything that presents itself.

Make relationships. This is one key. You never know who will end up being your most important support in this life and we all need support. Make those relationships now and keep them through life. I am amazed that I still have a few friends that I have known since KINDERGARTEN!! For me, that is a long long time. Make those relationships and keep them, but that will take weeding in your garden of friends. Some have to be thrown out so others can grow.

Finally, in all things, HAVE FUN! I know 18 year olds who feel old and worn down. I know 60-70 year olds who feel as young as high schoolers or college students. You are only as old as you feel, so hold on to your youth as long as possible and have fun! If it is not fun, its time to seek out new things. The journey will continue.

Sometimes the journey will move forward, sometimes it will move backward. Just keep it moving. You never know what is around the next bend in the journey. Through it all, keep your attitude positive. It will help you in the long run to not be so negative about anything. Work Hard. Play Hard. Give when you can. I promise, it will come back in a good way for you.

This is the advice I wish someone had given me in high school. Pay no attention to groups, or cliques. Those who are only seeking popularity will be the most unpopular within ten years. Those who seek genuine friendships will be friends for a lifetime. Stay the course and fight your battles until the bitter end. You will be great! But, it is up to you to be EXTRAORDINARY!

Meant To Be There, Or Not.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Zone.”

I used to be a radio broadcaster. I was a weekend part-timer for a local station ten years ago. Sadly, I graduated from college and needed to find a deeper level of employment with a pay grade that could cover my upcoming college loan payments. So, with deep regret and still regret to this day, I left. I knew I was born to be a radio broadcaster and I gave up the one opportunity I had. Momentary laps in judgement and one I will never get back to do over.

When I was on the air at the radio station there were times, many for me, where it just flowed. I knew what I was going to say before I even said it. I came up with clever ramps to songs and my timing? It needed a little work, but it was better than most could be just out of the gate. God called me to do this thing and I was zoned in every time I did it! There were times that I would sing along with the songs, there were times I would sing while taking meter readings. I was good at what I did and I knew it and it made me happy. So, why did I let it go? GREED!

Of course, we could look at this from the flip side of things. If I was truly meant to be there and I left, why am I not back there after ten years? If you love something let it go, if it comes back it was meant to be, right? Well, I guess this thing was not meant to be, but when I was doing it, I was always in the zone.

What is your zone? Are you there now? Are you working toward it? Let me give you some final advice before I sign off of this post. When you find your zone, PROTECT IT! YOU ARE THE LINEBACKER OF YOUR ZONE, NO ONE ELSE IS! DO NOT GET DISTRACTED BY OTHER THINGS WHEN YOU ARE IN YOUR ZONE! STAY THERE! FIGHT THROUGH THE LITTLE THINGS AND THE LITTLE THINGS WILL BECOME BIGGER OPPORTUNITIES! If you let it go, it may never come back, so stay in the zone.

In The Zone2

We Can’t All Be Everything.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Apply Yourself.”

It was ten years ago this spring that I had the crazy notion to attempt scuba diving. Now, you must know that swimming has never been one of my strong points. So, to attempt scuba diving was almost asking for disaster, but I threw caution and $400 dollars to the wind.

It was a two day course. I would be scuba dive certified by the end of the day and then have to take an open water test in the future. The night before I had stayed up late. I have always been a night-owl and that has not changed even to this day. I slept in and I was more than an hour late for the class. Lucky for me, I had my own instructor and even though his time is valuable, he stayed for me because he KNEW this would be worth it.

He had been informed before the class that I am in a wheelchair and we would have to adapt some of thing things in the class. The first thing we needed to figure out, how do I float right? You remember that scene in Men Of Honor when they are meeting in the courtroom to figure out if Cuba Gooding Jr’s character, Carl Brashear, would ever dive again after losing his leg? Well, it is true. Those of us without our lower limbs, or in my case, the use of my lower limbs, we don’t float as an able bodied person does. So, weights needed to be added to my ankles so I would keep from my legs floating up above my head. Picture that– UPSIDE DOWN SCUBA DIVER!!! It may look something like this: upsidedown_icediver_600

This should have been a sign to me that this was going to be a nearly impossible road to travel. But, continue I did. We finally got the weight right on each ankle (45 pounds) so I would float right and then we put on the scuba gear and just got a feel for breathing underwater. I did this portion like a fish! Breathing under water with no issues with equipment or anything, I am really good at that! I loved it! It was truly freedom.

I rallied through the next few skills as though I was born to do this and then came the deep dive and clearing of the mask. Sometimes as a diver water can get into the mask you wear over your eyes, or it can be pulled off by waves or bumping into an object and you need to clear out the water and reseal the mask against your face. This skill requires breathing in through your mouth and the regulator and breathing out through your nose to clear, or push, the water from the interior of the mask and creating a seal again.

Over the next thirty minutes I took it what seemed like a gallon of water. I could not get my body to understand that I wanted to breath in through my mouth and out through my nose hard enough to clear the mask and I would continually breath in through my nose. Pool water shot into my head, causing a panic. Now, as I said before, water has never been my forte’ so, I should have known from the beginning that this was not going to be easy or detours would come.

I just could not get myself to get past that one skill and reluctantly, I decided that my scuba diving days were done. Now, that was not without the pushing of my instructor. He KNEW that I could complete this and I could be a great diver, but I didn’t have the same belief in myself. I was just not born to be a strong swimmer and I was not born to be a scuba diver.

We all have our skills in life. I want to encourage each of you to find yours. And, in this instance, do not follow in my footsteps. DO NOT GIVE UP! Just because something doesn’t come easy, or because you keep hitting obstacles does not mean that you were not meant to defeat those obstacles and do the activity you want to do.

I saw a video online this morning of a young man who has no use of his arms or legs, but he is a drummer. His high school band teacher found a way through IPad programs that he could tap the screen and be a drummer. He is still marching in the marching band and even though you could see him and think, “There is no way HE is a drummer!” He is!

Now, there are certain things that we are not meant to do and those activities are meant for other people to accelerate at. I was never meant to be a football player. This world has many great football players, I am not one of them. After my swimming issues as a child, which I may blog about someday (stay tuned), I should have known that anything that has to do with water is not really for me. There are things that ARE for me and I believe I am on the road to discovering those things now.

I will one day be one of the great writers of this world. I may not write like Shakespeare or Whitman, but I will one day, through perseverance be paid to write. I don’t know if it will be through books or blogging, but I will continue this blog until I hit that one post that goes viral and makes me famous!

What are you meant to do? Are you experiencing road blocks, but you know in your soul it is what you are here to do? Keep at it. The key is to discover is it what you are meant to do, or is it something that you want to do that you really are not meant to do. I was never meant to be a scuba diver. I tried. It didn’t work. I was never meant to be a football player since I don’t have the use of my feet. I am, however, meant to be one of the great writers that the world will know about and I am one step closer with this post and the artistic flow of my craft.

Find what you are good at. Find what is difficult to do and keep working at it. There are things that you are meant to do in this world that will create a ripple of positivity and there are things you are meant to do that will pave the way for future people who have the same roadblocks you are having now. Stay the course. We can’t all be everything, but by God, we are all meant to be something.

The Future Is Unwritten, The Past Has Been Written For A Reason.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “One-Way Street.”

If I had a time machine that could only travel one direction, either to the past or the future, I would definitely choose the future! I would love to see how things end up. Who knows, maybe I could come back to the present and change some decisions so the future doesn’t go the way I see it from the time machine.

The past? That is what brought me here and believe me, that is truly a gift! If I could be anywhere else doing anything else with anyone else, no thank you! I am married to a wonderful woman and I love my life. Every single moment I have lived in the past (so close to) thirty-nine years has led me here! Why would I change any one of those things? Sure, I could erase some pain, or bad decisions, but in the course of that, I would change a lot of good things too. Why do that?

No. If I had a time machine and I could either go to the past or to the future, let me go to the future. The future has yet to be written. Who’s to say that whatever I witness in the future cannot be changed? Who’s to say that whatever I witness in the future DEPENDS on ME to change it? No. My past is what led me to where I am now. It is finished and it is AWESOME! The future? Who knows? But, I will tell you this. Any little decision you make today can define your future. That word you spoke in anger to a friend or coworker, or God Forbid, a boss? Yeah. THAT can define your future. That decision you made to not help someone or even TO HELP SOMEONE, that can define a whole lot of futures.

What if the person you help today ends up being the major player in a world changing event of the future? What if by supporting someone today you are making a decision to change the outcome of millions of people’s future? Will you deny it? Go to the future. See what will happen and then come back to today. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE TODAY WHAT WILL AFFECT TOMORROW! Why not take that chance?

I see it as the only way to go. Leap forward to the future, as long as you come back to NOW and make the positive changes that will impact the world in a grand manor tomorrow. I MAKE POSITIVE ACTIONS COME TRUE! The only way to do that is to look forward, not look back. Be a visionary today and see where the journey can take you, or us, or the world.