GENDUSA COLUMN: Choosing a safer, happier journey
Published 10:30 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023
My granddaughter will graduate from high school this year. I am unsure how this is happening because I thought she was born a few months ago! In case you haven’t heard, life flies by with lightning speed as you careen toward the end of it.
I contemplated the perfect graduation gift for her that would be meaningful and helpful when her days begin rushing by. I decided to write a small book of precautions and instructions on tips to avoid those potholes that trip us on life’s journey.
With complete self-reflection, I never missed any holes in the road, hitting every one of them and crashing more times than I can count. Talk about someone learning from the school of hard knocks; I indeed did! If I draw a map in words of how to navigate a better journey, then her path may be more uncomplicated and joyful.
It is all a work in progress, but I wrote a few lessons I believe to be valid and necessary. The first instruction I penned: To avoid damaging boulders being hurled on your path, keep your life in proper order.
THE ORDER: GOD FIRST, SPOUSE SECOND, CHILDREN THIRD, then PARENTS, EXTENDED FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND THE REST OF THE WORLD.
How many of us get ourselves out of order? And how many times do we strive to get back in line? When we start putting ourselves, our pleasure, and our wishes above others, we lose our way.
\When we take our eyes off the road, we will hit a pothole, burst a tire, damage the car, and need help to get where we were heading in the first place.
If we study the proper order of importance according to God’s word, it doesn’t appear as if the term “you” is in the line-up, does it? But you are. When God says to put Him first, it means you will lead a safer, happier pilgrimage to his arms. We are all sinners, but by God’s grace, we can get back on the right path with His guiding light.
Also, in the ranking, there is no mention of politics, fun, excitement, sports, money, etc.? The prioritized order is about people. All people come before all things. Folks arrive in heaven without cars, money, fame, golf clubs, or concert tickets. They reach heaven’s gates carrying only their souls.
Many have watched the riveting and revolting story of the Murdaugh family tragedy on the news. We witnessed the downfall of a Southern dynasty that didn’t believe it could topple. More incredible things have fallen, including civilizations, because of not following the order of life. When a lifestyle is consumed with power, money, and decadence replaces people, it burns to the ground leaving only ashes of shame.
When we crash into a ditch filled with sin and woe, we are given an opportunity to learn a tremendous lesson.
If we are wise, we call “The Lord’s Wrecker Service,” ask for forgiveness, and begin the repairs needed. However, if we blame the other driver for pushing us off life’s path instead of ourselves, we will keep crashing into culverts.
Humility is the cure for arrogance, and we should all reach a point where we humble ourselves below the cross in the road.
The best advice I can give anyone is from someone other than me. John wrote these cautionary instructions: “Dear Children, keep away from anything that might take away God’s place in your hearts. Amen.” These are the last words he wrote in 1 John 5:21.
Being a driver in the old heap carrying me on the last miles of my life’s travels, I look in the review mirror and see the pain, heartache and guilt I left on the road behind me. My car would have been totaled long ago if faith and forgiveness had not accompanied me through my many errors and sins.
I keep “The Lord’s Wrecker Service” number on speed dial daily. I am sure I will hit another pothole, but I also know who to call to get back on the road.
“Hi Lynn, what did you do to yourself this time?” He asks.
“Well, sir, I got out of order, and the old jalopy, and I slammed into a ditch again. I am so sorry.”
“I’ll be right there!” He responds.
And with lightning speed, as always, He is.