I've been lost a few times in my life. I'm not talking about my being directionally challenged, because we all know that I can get lost walking across the street. I'm talking about in life. I've taken the wrong road many times. Most of those times were with my eyes wide open and knowing full well that there wouldn't be a happy ending. I've been stubborn my entire life. Knowing that the road couldn't lead to a good place, if I was at all curious about what was down that road, I still took it.
I've never been afraid to admit when I made a wrong choice. Some of them would be pretty hard to cover up, but even the ones that could go undetected, I'd readily admit to. I have no problem saying 'you were right, and I was wrong'. Pride has never been my strong suit. It has been a major problem for me, however, when others pride got in their way...or in my way. It irritates me terribly when people can not admit their mistakes and take responsibility for them. Big deal, everyone makes mistakes. Everyone makes small mistakes, everyone makes big mistakes. Own it.
High School, college, hitching around the country...lot's
of wrong roads. Drugs, sex, lying, stealing and cheating...lot's
of wrong roads. Could I have become the person I am today without the wrong roads? Absolutely, I believe I was who I am now from the beginning. Did they build character? I don't know, I've been called a character, is that the same thing? No, I don't believe doing the wrong thing ever builds character. Not at all. What those wrong roads embedded
in me, though, is the ability to recognize when someone else is, or has been, on those same roads. Fellow travelers, if you will. Whether it's in their eyes, in their spirit or in the lies they tell. I recognize them. I have a kinship with them. It's what draws teenagers to me, it's what got me involved in the prison ministry years and years ago, it's what keeps me on my toes with Charlie. Kinship of those who are contemplating on taking the wrong road, those who are on it now or those who have been on many a wrong road in the past.
If I had chose to cover up those mistakes, those wrong roads I took, it would all have been for nothing. If I couldn't say 'you're right, I was wrong', then I wouldn't be the sort of person people could trust, or would listen to. Who would trust someone who couldn't admit to having ever been wrong? Whether you were wrong about the time a t.v. show came on, the price of beans or the road you should have taken and didn't, if you're wrong, say you were wrong and be done with it. Everyone takes a wrong road now and then. Some more than others, some less. Either way, own it, and if you've been blessed to have lived through it, share the lessons you've learned from it. You'll never learn from it, or help others learn from it, if you don't admit to your mistakes, to the wrong roads you've taken, and then it will all have been for nothing. What a tragic waste of life that would be.