Sunday, June 29, 2014


I have often secretly and sometimes not so secretly prided myself on my ability to drive on freeways, a skill more often acquired by trial and error than by innate talent and ability. My not so secret proclamation usually didn't go beyond a casual reference to my being in the same league as Daniel Boone with my ability to find my way…

My early driving training took place on the streets of Garden Grove, California, in the 1950’s when that area was noted more for its orange and strawberry production than for its multicultural population.

Besides transforming from an agricultural to a metropolitan area, the only freeway which existed in those days near Garden Grove was the Interstate 5 which consisted of two lanes in each direction and traveled more through farms and orchards than through endless suburbs, office complexes, malls and manufacturing areas.

Therefore, unlike the teens of today who are weaned on a freeway system which now receives daily and hourly attention on radio and television and cars which are equipped with GPS with its trial tested feminine voice directing every turn going to any destination, when I was introduced to the rigors of freeway driving you actually had to know where you were going and the names of the streets you would be traveling on.

Destinations which once took hours to reach can now be reached in a fraction of the time, unless there is an accident or one ventures out at rush hour. Then, of course, the time principles are reversed.

My mind wandered and I was distracted by another ‘walking to school uphill in snow in both directions’ tale. I will try to return to the reason I was talking about my ability to drive the freeway systems which stream in every direction in Southern California today.

…Recently, I was rather surprised to find that I had made a decision on a local interchange which resulted in a rather lengthy detour in order to return to my intended route.

As I was making this half hour correction, as so often happens my mind started multitasking, mainly concentrating on the commuting task and partly pondering the process of decision making which continually confronts us.

The thought passed through my sub-semiconscious brain activity, since obviously I was using all my conscious activity to be alert to traffic situations, that most of life’s choices are more like a fork in the road than an intersection. When we come to a fork we must make a decision, hopefully based on all the information we have at our disposal. If we are to continue going forward we must make a choice. So it is in many situations of life. We continually find ourselves in situations where it not only is imperative that we make a choice, but impossible not to make one. Hopefully we will have previously paid the price so we can properly make these mandatory decisions when they confront us.

The second thought I remember passing blurrily through my mind was that just as a whole half an hour of my life was being spent making no forward progress because of an unintentional decision I had made, many of the decisions we are faced with on a daily basis are totally connected to an intentional or unintentional move we made at a previous fork in the road. It seems possible that during most of our lives, present and future choices will largely be predicated on the accumulation of past choices.

When I had just about finished my self-imposed correctional time and was ready to head in the proper direction again, the thought briefly buzzed past me that sharp departures from choice patterns are usually difficult and punitive, and require present and future changes in life patterns to avoid future penalties.

Once I was again heading in the right direction, my thoughts turned to the obvious conclusion that making a correct first decision was much more efficient than the time wasting correctional processes which attended making wrong decisions or even wasting time with stumbling indecisiveness.

Therefore, I resolved that in the future, a resolve which I have repeated frequently since that day, it might be best before making choices if I would carefully examine alternatives and their consequences and increase my chances of having positive results today and establish firmer foundations to face future forks in my road which would invariably confront me.

It came to me that it was logical that the further I could future the consequences of my current decisions, the probability of choosing correctly increased accordingly.

Perhaps, by looking to tomorrow, next week or next month, I will be less likely to make choices which might appear desirable and pleasurable at the moment, but will ultimately turn into shifting sands upon which future decisions must be made to overcome the mistake and return to the way of happiness.
I suspect that there might even be a tremendous value attached to gaining at least an elementary understanding of the eternities, which might aid us in futuring our decisions into infinity and, thereby, equally increasing our chances of making correct choices.

I was convinced, but frequently find I need conviction renewal reviews. Making wiser, more informed decisions will help me avoid immediate and further frustrations, wasting of time, depressive feelings, sadness, regret and multitudinous other miserable emotions and help me gain a greater sense of self-worth, contribute to a more efficient life and more abundantly fill my days with joy.


  1. "Faith, Hope and Love"
    One of twain - of the Two great Triads with God, Jesus and The Holy Ghost.
    As with The Holy Ghost in The Deity, Hope tends to get less .... than faith and Love.
    By Faith are we saved! God is Love!
    What about Hope?
    “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence" Helen Keller
    I have more sort of "adequate" thoughts on this, but I suspect it best to just end with a great thought.

    Paul Maddox

  2. I'll rely on greater men this week to add to your THOUGHTS from some quotes which seem apropos from my quotes file: (well, I can't help but add comment :-( )

    Buddha, “To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.” "

    I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."

    Stephen Hawking, “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” Agency!

    Buddha, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” There are two was to choose: choose, don't choose; either is a choice. No escape!

    so finally :-)

    Yogi Berra, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

    Paul Maddox

  3. Thank you for your words and thoughts Brother Riley....they are appreciated!

    Nancy Harlow

  4. I am very relieved to know that you, too, have memories of not always planning ahead -- and the consequences of that! Well written, Bill, very well written! Thank you for sharing!

    Carla Johnson

  5. I am not surprised that you missed you missed either the off ramps or the transition; if you think you are doing well from transitioning from grove driving; think of me from gravel roads and ironed wheeled vehicles pulled by horses! I to marvel at how we are able to move around so well. Can you even begin to imagine doing it without a vehicle faster that the speed of light?

    Paul Hansen

  6. Querido Presidente:

    Muchas gracias por estos pensamientos, me ayudan en mi vida y en mi llamamiento, gracias por estar alli.

    Un Abrazo
    Gabriel Naranjo