I wrote last night until I felt more relaxed and a bit drowsy. Thought I should take advantage of it and went to bed.

I don’t feel like I finished my thoughts in the previous entry. We have a light schedule today and do not need to be ready to leave for another two hours so let’s see if I can pull it all together.

Day One, Part 2

I started out referring to my AOL account. It has served me well and continues to do so. However, since its conception so much has been developed in the tech world and just within the internet that many feel AOL has run its course. I believe that it still has many good qualities and so I continue to use it. I do supplement it with newer options I do not find on AOL.

This is how I felt at the end of our day. We relied on some things we have used and tried out for many years. It gave us a peace and assurance in its past performance. We discovered in the process there are some newer services which might have helped us along. We cannot go blindly into the night with our trusted ways and means expecting them to bring us to a point that is only possible with newer ways of which we may not be familiar.

A small group within our team wanted to get a picture to record the beginning of our journey. They asked if I would take their picture. I was happy to do it. Then they all started pulling out their cell phones and wanted me to take a picture from each of their phones. I offered to take a variety of shots with one cell phone and told them to share with each other. Everyone in the group was OK with it, except one. (I should have seen the writing on the wall…she has been “that person” all day long.) When I was done, she offered me her phone and said, “surely you are willing to take just one more.” I politely declined. She gave me that look. You know the one, that expressed clearly she was not happy. Thus, my statement of you cannot control the other person, but you can control yourself. I smiled and walked away.

Our anticipation and expectations fall into this same experience. I have shared in similar experiences with other groups for many years. I cannot therefore make assumptions that this group will have the same expectations and experience. If I do that I will only be setting myself up for failure.

I must also remind myself that this is not my group. I need to be intentional about stepping back and making sure our leader is our leader. I recently read an article that described behaviors customers do at restaurants believing they are being polite or helpful when in reality the restaurant staff do not appreciate.

I feel like some things I might want to offer as helpful or hospitable, might really be me interfering in a plan that has taken time and energy to put together by the one who is really leading this group. I need to be cautious in answering questions that really are not mine to answer.

I went down for breakfast and found some of our group already there. I sat down greeting them with a cheery good morning. Soon after a pleasant reply the questions started coming. I quickly told them my only answer is, “check that out with our leader, he will have the answer you are looking for, I’m sure.” At first I think some felt like I was being sarcastic. This is a reasonable expectation if you know me. We did establish, what I hope will be a new norm and everyone was OK with it.

There are two books that have had a significant impact on my life. “The life You’ve Always Wanted,” by John Ortberg; and “Taking Responsibility for Your Own Life,” by Andy Stanley. If you have not read them, I would strongly recommend either or both of them to you.

In these books I am drawn to some honest conclusions. I have the opportunity to be in love with God and in so doing find a path for my life that gives me absolutely everything I have ever wanted…usually so much more. I have said for years there is not a dream you can imagine that God won’t take and make it so much more. The other conclusion that I live by is that I am responsible for my own life. This means the choices I make affect every choice after that. The way people treat me is as a result of past choices and present situations. I am responsible for that. I can blame others if I want. That seems to be the way our world works today. Ultimately, it is my choice and my responsibility.

Do not take this to mean that my life is like strolling through a beautiful garden every day without a care in the world. That simply is not going to happen. Whoever told you the world was fair and just is not living in our world. Our task is not to expect perfection in our lives and in all the lives of anyone who crosses our life-path. If you buy into that Theology and Philosophy I fear you have a lot of heartache and disappointment ahead of you.

For my life, and I believe it can be true for yours as well, my task is to do the best I can, to love as much as I can, anytime I can, anywhere I can. Will I run onto others who are following that same path? Yes, I will. I may not convince them to join me in this quest, but I also do not have to let their behavior dictate my own.

Just as important, I must be willing to accept that I put myself in the place I am now. I will make mistakes. I will let others down. I will think I am being helpful when I am actually being a pest. I know it, I own it. I also believe I can use my trusted methods and tools to accomplish various tasks set before me. This does not restrict me from trying something new. While I own the negative in me, I also own the positive. I can influence for the better. I can love and show others how I believe love can and should be shown. I can be that guy when you are so tired on and airplane you naturally lean over and all asleep on my shoulder. You will be safe there and you will find rest. I will feel great knowing I was there at the right place, at the right time.

I wish that, I pray that, for each of you. Amen.

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