I have done some pretty stupid things in my life. I don’t know if you can relate to this fact but I’m sure you can. The particular instance that I’m referring to now happened after I found myself in jail for basically being stupid… once again.
I will not say that jail is a good place to be but I admit that it makes for some soul searching if a person actually views the time as a rehabilitation.
Anyway, we were involved in a Bible study group one day. People were discussing some passages and what it meant to them. I tend to listen to a group that I am apart of before speaking because it allows me to develop my thoughts.
During these listening periods I also force myself to actively learn the viewpoints of the individual speakers. I try to absorb some of their energy and their thought process. Sounds weird but I believe it helps me to strengthen my thoughts and beliefs.
Yeah, it’s weird. So, what? It works…
The discussion finally came around to my comments. (okay, here comes the good stuff)
I looked around the room finalizing my thoughts and my consensus of the group. When the thought hit me, I didn’t want to accept it at first because it was so simple. (That’s why it was genius!)
We were trying to figure out how to keep from coming back to jail. Words and phrases pertaining to “roadmap”, “path”, “direction” were used as metaphors for the plans we were making for ourselves upon release.
My thoughts: We were all wearing orange jumpsuits. So, I began by asking the group questions.
- “A stop sign is red, right?” YES
- “A caution sign, like train tracks, is yellow, right?” YES
- “And, information signs are usually blue, right?” YES
- “Well, what color are detour signs?”I looked around the room. ORANGE
- “Right! Now, what color are the jumpsuits that we are wearing?” ORANGE
Partly to let the thought sink in and partly because I had surprised myself by the clarity of my thoughts at this moment.
“We have been talking about how we want to go down the right path so we don’t come back. And, about choosing the right course of action if we run into a difficult decision.
“Well, if we are riding down this road to success or sobriety or a better life and we come across some orange cones and DETOUR signs, it makes sense that we follow the directions of the signs so that we avoid danger, doesn’t it?
“Look at your ORANGE jumper. Right now it is a bright detour sign telling you that you need to change direction. We all need to change our course of action because we are heading towards danger.
“These jumpers are your sign. They are definitely a sign for me. So, think about that every time you get the urge to go down a street that you know leads back to this jail…
“Remember these bright orange jumpsuits.”
I cannot say that I totally grasped what I said when I said it. (We do that sometimes, don’t we? Have moments of clarity that we have no clue where the thought came from.) What I do know, upon reflection, is that I had made a slight shift in my thinking.
That’s what we are to do every day in personal life…business life…our relationships…and every part of our life.
We try something that we believe will get us to our destination. (Simply because you have read this far I believe that you’re a success focused person.)
Life will tempt you with shortcuts that promise immediate satisfaction. Sometimes they do.
BUT THOSE OTHER TIMES…
The student who tries these shortcuts — who is to say that she is wrong for doing so? But when the student does, the student must pay attention to all of the street signs.
- The orange detour that says “go this direction to get back on track”
- The yellow caution that says “watch what you’re doing”
- The blue information that says “get help or assistance here”
- The red stop that says STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and choose a different course.
I am no saint (even though my Mama is). I have blindly driven by the signs and, on occasion, blew through the stop sign.
But, you know what…
Life and God give you a chance to reset and choose a different path. I know that the path I’m on WILL land me at my destination as long as I stay the course.
A final thought…
I once heard the word FOCUS made into and acronym:
What I’m learning is that success and happiness are destinations that leave clues… a road-map. The road-map is complete with all the signs necessary to reach them when you FOCUS on the destination and heed the signs.
Leave your comments below. I want to hear from you.
D Arlando Fortune
Keep it as simple as A, B, C’s; 1, 2, 3’s; and, do, re, mi’s