What Door Will You Choose?

"Crossroads of the Confederacy" -- The Civil War Railroad Crossroads at Corinth (MS) 2013

“Standing at the crossroads, trying to read the signs
To tell me which way I should go to find the answer,
And all the time I know,
Plant your love and let it grow.”
Let It Grow- Eric Clapton

A parade of images flow through my mind and as they do I remember people and places and think about the choices I have made and those I haven’t.

Standing on the top of Masada, staring out into the desert listening to the echoes of the past touch my present I think about where I want to be down the road and I know it is here.

One day I’ll live in Israel, get married, raise a family and live this incredible, exceptional and amazing life. There is no doubt in my mind because at 16 you are invincible and all the world is yours for the taking.

Things happen and I don’t move as soon as I expect to, there will be no college experience in Israel for me. It is ok, I’ll roll with it.

It is midnight now and I am sitting at a pub in Jerusalem drinking a beer and listening to the Scottish girl tell me I have a funny American accent. She wants to know why I am wearing my baseball cap backwards.

I tell her that she is the one with the funny accent and her friends laugh and tell me “I am so American.”

Some hours later my roommate complains when I wake him up and asks me if I am drunk or happy. I tell him neither and he asks me how I blew the deal.

“I wasn’t trying to close it. I was just enjoying myself. I plan on moving here soon and I want to be free of all attachments.”

But it doesn’t happen then either. I go back to the states and in a bit more than a year I am married.

Third Time Is The Trick

It’s the summer of ’98 and it is my wife’s first trip to Israel. We are hanging out with some friends who live in Jerusalem and watching their kids run around the hotel.

I stare at these little girls and wonder when someone is going to call me dad. It will only be two years but I am having trouble imagining where they will be born, the kids I don’t have.

Later on we’ll swim in the Mediterranean and I’ll tell my wife that I still want to move to Israel. She asks me if I intend on joining the army and I nod my head.

“If I am going to do it, I am going to go all the way. This is a place that calls to me. It owns a piece of me and every time I leave I notice its absence.

The third time is not the trick but I can’t say exactly why.  That was the summer D died and that changed many things. Don’t know that it really had an impact on moving or not moving but it is when I started to recognize how fast time can move.

I was 29 and I had discovered mortality.

“Time is getting shorter and there’s much for you to do.
Only ask and you will get what you are needing,
The rest is up to you.
Plant your love and let it grow.”

What Door Will You Choose?

I am standing at the crossroads again but this time it is different. Life experience has provided me with an awareness that didn’t exist before and a level of maturity that changes everything.

Who I am and what I am willing to do now is different than it was then.

I have a far better sense of what I want and what I need now. It would be easy to look back and moan about mistakes I have made but maybe they weren’t mistakes.

Maybe they were things I needed to do to become who I am now.

That might sound like a bunch of woo woo nonsense. It might sound ridiculous but it works for me and ultimately that is what is important.

When night falls and you close your eyes you need to be able to feel good about the door you chose to open and the one you didn’t.

People say you can’t ever step in the same river twice because the current is always moving and it is always changing but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever cross it or that the door you passed upon is permanently locked.

I don’t have to close my eyes to see where I want to go or who I want to become.

I planted the seeds and I am letting them grow.

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10 Comments

  1. Natalie D July 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I am at a crossroads too. I so want to make the right decision, because my regrets are piled by my door, keeping me from changing.

    • Jack July 19, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      I wish you the best with your choices. Can’t see where they will lead until we take them but I do believe that we have the opportunity to influence their outcome so there is that.

  2. Brian Sorrell July 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I think you’re a philosopher at heart Jack. What a well-considered post, full of feelings I feel all the time. To me, this is what “faith” amounts to.

    • Jack July 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Hi Brian,

      You may be right. I don’t necessarily think of myself that way but I suppose much of thought about life falls into areas people could be labeled as philosophy. Not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.

      I enjoy doing things that make me think. Helps keep the mind sharp or so I like to believe. Hope New Zealand is treating you well.

  3. Larry July 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I love this line: When night falls and you close your eyes you need to be able to feel good about the door you chose to open and the one you didn’t.

    It’s all about accepting yourself and the choices you made. What you need now is not the same as what you needed when your were 16 or 29.

    Excellent!

    • Jack July 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      That line is tied into something my father used to say to me all the time. If I had a bad day he would ask if I had done my best and say that if I had done that it didn’t matter what the outcome was.

      As I got older we dug into that a bit more but I understood the point.

      Life is a series of choices and it is really hard to figure things out, especially when you are 29 and are trying to pick something for when you are 50.

  4. Sebastian Aiden Daniels July 16, 2014 at 10:19 am

    A mistake today might be the reason for our success a year from now.

    That feeling of understanding the reality of mortality is pretty enlightening and frightening. My best friend is going through some health issues and thinking that she would be gone from this world and she would not be in my life for the rest of my life is a very scary thought. Appreciate the people you care about!

    • Jack July 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      I have been to more funerals of friends and people I cared about then I like to think of. Our grip on life is more tenuous and circumspect than we might like so we really do need to pay attention to those we care about.

      And we need to take care of ourselves and remember tomorrow doesn’t always come.

  5. Stan Faryna July 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I have stood at Masada and wondered what the future held for me. But it was Rome that captured my imagination. I have chunked handfuls of coins into the Trevi fountain and many, many times – ever hopeful that one day I could live it up in Rome for a few years.

    • Jack July 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      I have never been to Rome but I have always wanted to go. One day I shall take a trip and see the city and when I hit that fountain I’ll flip a coin in your honor.

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