It’s Never Too Late to Change

Have you ever had the thought that you may be living the best, or worst, times of your life and everything is either uphill or downhill from here?  I’ve had moments when I wished time would just stand still so I could stay in that moment forever.  On the other hand, I’ve had moments when it felt like I was stuck in time during some of the worst moments of my life; it felt like they would never end.  The future is coming.  Like it or not.  We can try to avoid it and hide in a room full of memorabilia, but at the end of our days, we’ll still look in the mirror and see the tolls that the years have taken on us. 

The Mrs and I were talking about class reunions tonight on our walk to downtown and back.  We were sharing just how much we, and those we went to school with, had changed over the years.  It only takes a brief look at photos of those of us who graduated back then compared to ones of today to see how the years, and our choices, have changed all of us.

For the young people in my life, my wish is for them to take ahold of the time they have now while they’re still young and make the very best of it.  If there is one thing the years have taught me, it’s that the decisions we make when we’re young affect us for the rest of our lives; and there’s no turning back the clock.  Oh, there have been many times that I wish I could have a ‘Do over’, but even dreaming of such a thing is only futility.

So many people I know became drawn into a path when they were young and didn’t wake up from it until it was too late.  Life offers young people many pleasures and temptations that will distract them from looking ahead and being prudent.  If they could start with even the smallest of things like putting a little money away out of every check into an account for their kid’s college, investing in a long-term retirement plan at an early age, and creating positive life-long habits of exercising themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually, they will literally change their future for the better.

Tonight here’s to taking charge of our future and letting go of the regrets of the past.  Even at my age, it’s not too late to start healthy habits that will improve my future and benefit all those around me for the better down the road.  There’s no better time than today.  I know it’s tough to make changes after so many years, but if we keep our eyes on what can be instead of on what isn’t, those small changes will become easier every day.  Most of all, with God’s help, we can do all things and He is always willing to give us the strength we need to make those changes for the better…

Love always my friends

Looking Both Ways

It was one of the very first things my parents taught me as a child and one of the first things they taught me when I was learning to drive a car; always look both ways before going forward.  It seems simple enough and logical.  I mean, why wouldn’t I check to see if there’s a car coming from both sides of me before stepping out in front it?

Unfortunately, many people find that seemingly simple habit a hard one to form.  Whether they’re in too much of a hurry, thought they’d looked both directions but only glanced, or it never even occurred to them that they are sharing the road with other drivers, they just can’t seem to make it a regular practise to look both ways.  The consequences of not doing that one thing while driving, walking, or in life, could be deadly.

In California, one of the bad habits people tend to pick up is failing to stop before turning a corner.  Infamously known as the ‘California’ stop, it’s more of a slow-down, check to see if anyone’s coming and then drive right through the stop sign, than it is a stop.  I must confess, while living there, I was just as guilty as anyone until I moved to Texas and was caught by the hidden camera around the corner. That hefty $75 ticket helped me to get over the California Stops real quick. 

Just like pedestrian crossings and stop signs, in life we also need to stop and look both ways from time to time.  Those decisions to not look both ways when we are young bring with them a heavy price that, when we’re older, we don’t want to pay again.  Still, some people will look both ways in life, but because they are risk takers, they plow ahead anyway often nearly escaping tragedy or bringing it into other’s lives as well.

Whether we’re making a career choice, a relationship choice, choosing where we would like to live, or what kind of toothpaste to use, taking a moment to consider the options is a wise habit to consider.  One never knows what might be crossing our path unexpectedly just before we’re ready to move forward with our plans.

The key to developing a habit of looking both ways in life isn’t just learning the hard way, it’s practicing prudence. Instead of just saying yes (or no) to anything we’re offered, asking ourselves what potential dangers could come from our choice will help us to make good choices. Also, considering the consequences of our decisions on others around us is a good way to get into the habit of looking both directions.  It may be a good decision for me, but it may not be a good decision for the other people in my life.  

Lastly, depending on the weight of the decision, taking a few moments to seek the guidance of an all-knowing, all-loving God certainly will help us avoid getting side-swiped by unexpected or hidden dangers.  Speaking from experience, having God in the front seat of our life will only help us to make the right decisions and with perfect timing.  Besides, He also makes great company while driving through life too…

Love always

Who?… Me?

Earlier today, while enjoying my $1.50 hotdog lunch special at Costco, I noticed a guy who I could have swore was Ryan Gosling.  It’s not that I pay much attention to famous people in public or look for them, but this guy could have been his twin.  I decided to make a game out of it for the next five minutes and see how many other people reminded me of someone famous.  I quickly gave up that dumb game when I realized that most of them looked like character actors whom I couldn’t remember their names anyway. 

A few years back, the Mrs. and I were finished shopping for some groceries at Sam’s Club and just chatting when we came up to the check-out register.  The clerk, a young woman in her twenties, looked up at me and said, ‘Oh my God!… Oh my God!..”  I thought, ‘Does she know me?’   I asked her what the matter was after she calmed down a bit and she told me she thought I was the actor Dean McDermott for a second.  I didn’t know who that was but, after looking him up on Google, I learned he’s apparently married to Corey Spelling who was in the tv show 90210.   I guess there’s some resemblance, but yeah…

The whole thought of mistaken identity, or having a look-alike out there, went deeper in my mind after leaving Costco.  It stirred something inside of me.  I’m still having a difficult time putting it to words, but if I had to put a word to what I’m feeling, it would be grief. 

Now, why would that make me feel grief?  I believe it boils down to the insecurity we all feel about who we may be in life or how we may look compared to others; especially those who are famous.   It was as though God was grieved by my need to find someone famous in others and was saying to me, ‘You are uniquely special and so are they.  I’ve made you all beautiful in my eyes’. 

We’re all created unique in God’s eyes.  Each one of us is special in our own right.  Scientists may speculate that there’s another Bradley in an alternate universe (Heaven forbid), but I am the only one here at this time and you are also the only you both now and forever.

So, whether we look like someone famous or know someone who is famous (or are famous), all that really matters is that we realize just how uniquely special we are in His eyes.  We don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else.  We can be the best that we are and that’s enough.  No one can ever take that from us.  The gifts we have are no better or worse than the gifts of others.  As far as I’m concerned, I may look like Dean McDermott, but I’m Brad Clawson.  I thank God for what He’s made me to be (crossed eyes and dorky humor to boot) and that’s all I will ever want to be…

Love always