Along the way, on what is often called the path of life, I’ve met a lot of incredible people. I admire them all so very much. A few became friends that I reconnect with now and then. Mostly, though, I’ve met men and women and simply shared a moment just chatting a bit, and each of us headed of to our own destinations.
A fellow I met in Sacramento, long ago, comes to mind. He told me how he’d become a mentor. He said his wife thrust him into the role after asking the pastor of their church what it meant to be a mentor.
“Someone that’s made a lot of mistakes,” he said, “and is willing to share them.”
“That’s my husband,” she exclaimed.
That’s something I can relate to. The making mistakes along the way, at least. I’ll not soon forget him, I hope. Though I can’t bring his name to mind at the moment. I’m terrible with names. Am I willing, though, to share my mistakes with others? Every now and then I do, I suppose.
From everyone I’ve ever met I’ve learned something. Occasionally, I’ve helped or taught people something myself. I think.
It seems to me, if I look back on my “journey” along the way, I’ve made a lot of turns. I often wish before I’d turned I’d seen a sign that said, “No Outlet,” however. But never mind those times. For each “wrong” turn, in retrospect, was interesting and a source of lessons, if not exactly enjoyable.
If only there were a sign that said, “Do Not Go This Way!” I’ve often lamented. Yet, I know I’d have most likely ignored it anyway, and proceeded full speed ahead. The thing about wrong turns is that there is always some way out. Even if it isn’t at first apparent. It’s like a lot of the cliches about such things. Like there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” —Psalm 23:4
That works if we believe in YeshuaJesus. If we have sought Him. If we at least attempt to follow Him.
Moses teaches us: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Eventually I figured out that thought my life I’ve not counted my days, not considered my ways. Too often I simply went along, as if floating down a river in a tube, drifting along, not considering where I was going or what I was doing. Meandering. That how I put it once in a short article for a news letter to which I once contributed.
One of the lessons learned from my time at Camp Roberts, was that if we messed up, we just needed to be able to fix it. I’ve learned since then that if I can’t fix it, I must own up to it and ask for help. Confession is a good thing. Hard. But good.
A few years ago I was installing some network software at an office. I forgot to rename a particular file, and it was overwritten, which brought the network to a screeching halt. I couldn’t fix it, had to call in to the main office, and the file brought back from backup. I don’t like making mistakes. I also don’t like to admit them. But admitting fault is the first step in righting wrongs.
There are a lot of people, too, that I’ve never met and seriously admire. Great people whose lives are laid bare in the Bible. King David messed up a lot. And he owned the mistakes, and was forgiven. Of course, there were consequences to his actions. All those are also laid bare in the Bible.
At the end of Moses’s Song (Psalm 90) he wrote: “Let the favor of the L-RD our G-D be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” I like this. As a young man, I could have looked to the L-RD to establish my works, my direction, my path. I believed. I just didn’t believe enough, didn’t trust enough, didn’t listen enough to His Voice. He doesn’t always put up big signs saying “Do Not Enter.” Although a careful reading of the Bible shows us there are signs. There is guidance. I also didn’t know enough to learn to hear His quiet Voice, the Voice He speaks through His Spirit.
When our lives seem in the pits. Wrong turns. Sorrow. We have a choice. Own up. We can blame others, but that does little good, other than to hide our part. Better to own up. Confess. And move on.