Thursday, August 1, 2013

Different Paths

I don't believe in coincidences. I instead believe in the divine, sovereign plan of God who works through our
choices and circumstances to draw our attention to Him and to highlight things of importance. I had one of those moments occur today from two different stories that were both related to my teaching at Mainland High School.

When I left the Athletic Training program at MHS, I was tremendously impressed with the gentleman who took my place. He & I maintained a great friendship and I couldn't have been more thrilled with the work he did there to continue a tradition of excellence. The position just came open again this year and I was contacted by a former program student asking to list me as a reference for the position. I enthusiastically gave my endorsement and was very excited to hear that he had gotten the position. It is a symbolic continuation of carrying the torch from an invested member of our academy and program. I am proud of him and his excellence in his profession and look forward to seeing what God is going to do through his leadership.

It wasn't long after I saw this excellent information that I stumbled across another former student. Her story is very different. She was in my health class for a semester and I vividly remember her and her best friend. I continued to see her around town over the years and it was obvious that she was struggling with life. She wasn't always making the right choices and that was evident from the company she kept. When she became pregnant, I thought she had cleaned herself up and was on the right path of responsibility. Sadly, that did not seem to be the case. As I read through her Facebook profile I saw that she battled addiction, gave birth to another child, and then took her own life.

I was saddened to travel down the pathway of her destruction even from a distance. It was such a tremendous extreme of paths from one highly successful young man to another very-loved young woman who couldn't seem to escape her demons. My interaction with them was very different, but both will continue to be seared in my memory forever.

I don't understand everything God is trying to show me through these two intersecting, yet divergent paths. Perhaps it's a reminder of how important our investment in other people is and yet a powerful indication that our impact is still limited and personal choices will determine their future. I don't know what else I could have done for her, but it certainly encourages me to keep investing in people for the sake of providing even a small ray of hope for a better future.

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