Sunday, January 5, 2014


It’s funny what strange things one has stored in their minds. For some reason I recently thought about something which happened several decades ago. I remembered watching a young child working on his first maze.

Putting his crayon on start he soon had a dark blue trail which meandered into dead ends and out again. He eventually found his way to the end of the maze, but his efforts had left the page looking like he had been attempting to color the entire field. When his older brother came into the room he started to unveil the secrets his three added years of living and an even older brother had revealed to him about doing mazes.

Never use crayons or pens when doing mazes, but find a pencil with a good eraser and use that.
Before putting any lines on the maze look at the end of the maze and using your eyes only trace your way back to the start.
Now using only your eyes start at the beginning and retrace the path back to the end of the maze.
Now put your pencil at start and lightly draw your way to the end.
So that others will think you are really bright you are now ready to draw a single path from the start to the end of the maze with any permanent type of marker you choose.

I suspect all of our lives would be dramatically different if we used this same formula when we are faced with making decisions. If we would struggle just a little bit in order to catch a glimpse of the end we were headed towards when we stand at the beginning of one of life’s divergent paths, I am sure we would be able to choose more wisely.

Would those who get involved with mind altering and life changing substances take that first puff, swallow that first pill or snort that first line if they took the time to see all the dark dead ends, the time wasted and the meaningless mess the end of that path lead them to?

How many choices of education practices would be different if we really evaluated the scribbly lines on our maze of life we are drawing as we skip school, watch clocks, ignore homework and drop out? We discover too late the limitations we have put upon ourselves and our families.

How often would priorities in how we use our few short years and the resources available to us in mortality be altered and adjusted as we make choices which help us to avoid wasted efforts in chasing pots of gold never found at rainbow’s end and thereby add years to our productivity because we have our houses in better order?

Without a doubt, having a better view of where our choices will take us and the pitfalls or platforms our divergent paths will uncover should have a dramatic effect on determining our present course of action.

In many books of maze collections the end of the maze is marked with a picture of some treasure you are trying to discover. Likewise, the image we have of what the prize will be at the end of the journey of our choices will have an influence on the choices we make and even whether we make those choices.

That person who believes that marriage is an antiquated custom or that no marriage can survive the twists and turns of modern society and are doomed to the chambers of divorce, will go about selecting companionships in a much different fashion than one who believes in the eternalness of marriage.

One who believes that companions are much like tires and are to be discarded when the tread becomes smooth and worn, will treat their spouse much differently than one who sees the wearing as each mile is shared as an additional reason to love and appreciate what they have.

One who visualizes the grave finalizing all existence may make choices a great deal differently than one who believes mortal death is but a birth unto eternal life.

As I watched my young neophyte maze wanderer during subsequent weeks and months after his enlightening from his brother, I would see him boldly take crayon in hand and with little or no planning enjoy the adventure of trial and error mazing. A casual observation now and then as I watched the child grow toward man revealed him continuing to enjoy his mazes and eventually with pen in hand easily making his way from start to end on the one correct path with no detours and only a few pauses to visualize the path with no diversions.

There are some mazes in life where the eventual terminal is less important than the divergent paths we take on our way through unknown channels toward unknown rewards. And having arrived, realize that it was the learning along the way which was the real goal.
Sometimes finding our way through a dark tunnel and then realizing the strength we gained from having made it through on our own was more important than being on the other side of the tunnel.

Sometimes by carefully working our way along the ledges of uncertain mountain sides we are able to enjoy vistas and have edifying experiences which would have escaped us if we had remained on the well-worn paths in the valley below.

Sometimes by going the long way around, even getting lost in alley ways and one way streets we are able to multiply our decision-making abilities which will be of great aid as we encounter similar obstacles in the future.

One of the joys I saw in the life of this child grown to man, was the joy he eventually found in creating mazes of his own. They were challenging works of art which would bring joy to generations to come as they realized that this maze was just as difficult whether you started at the beginning or the end
So, when your little bird whispers in your ear and passes on a shortcutting secret, don't be too quick to apply your new found formula to every situation. Or when you become that little bird with a shortcut secret, don't be too quick to start chirping to everyone you meet.

We may discover after all, that laboriously struggling through the mazes of life from start to finish might turn out to be the best path after all.


  1. Buenas noches Presidente, Hermana Riley y Walter Cruz

    Feliz Navidad y un próspero año Nuevo les deseo.

    Con Amor

    Lucía Helena Aguirre.

  2. Deseamos de corazón que pasen un feliz año nuevo y que todas sus metas se concreten. Recuerden que siempre habrán momentos difíciles en la vida, lo importante es superarlos y nunca más mirar hacia atrás.

    Un Feliz Año les deseamos a todos mis amigos, conocidos y en especial a mis familiares.

    Familia Patiño Vallejo.



    Maria Victoria Ospina Grisales

  4. Here I am striving to catch up on mail..this one really has me thinking I should memorize and contemplate each paragraph or line on the "on the other hand" section. You have verbalized so many areas that find way into my thought pattern frequently. The positive thoughts are so appreciated.

    Thanks again.

    Jean Seavey

  5. Muy interesante gracias , aunque no entiendo muy bn lo de el pajarito de la ultima parte , me explicas por favor

    Ingrid Camila Lara Ortiz

  6. Bill,

    I appreciate receiving these each week and would like to continue to do so. We have recently moved and would like to use a different e-mail address as our old one will be discontinued shortly.


    -- Bob & Cherie Seavey

  7. Gracias por ayudarnos a resolver nuestros laberintos con unos trazos demás

    Eulises lotero torres

  8. I really enjoy reading your messages.


    Joni McMullin Decker

  9. Again, thank you for your thoughts Bill

    Renee Lehman

  10. Bill,
    In the maze of life, each path we take is drawn in indelible ink; there is no eraser. There is forgiveness; grace.
    God has set us here in time with a past, present and future.
    For the old (alas, you and me), use our long past to help others with their present and future, that their eventual pasts may become rich with rewarding experiences to share.
    For the young and those in their prime years, maximize their present. (We all need to do this of course until the final hour.)
    The neophyte is blessed to have earthly parents and grand-parents to help them learn to navigate their mazes of life. Parenthood never ceases.
    Most of all it is important to remain constantly aware, that we all have a common Parent Who loves us most of all, Who loves us equally - the whole world of us. As we focus on our individual responsibilities, our stewardships, we are remiss in those stewardships when we define them too narrowly, either in time or place, i.e., my assigned mission, calling, even family. If "lo [He] is with [me] always," then perhaps He desires that I remember the primacy of His parenthood before all others, love Him above all others and show that love in action to others - always - as He is with me and loving me always.
    Who indeed is my brother? Another child of God? What then is my stewardship? Am I my brother's keeper?

    I'm lost in this maze Bill.

    Paul Maddox