I got to speak at chapel at my alma mater, Ezell-Harding, a few weeks ago. One of the points I made to the kids is that you simply have no idea where you could end up in life. When I was a senior in high school:
- I had no girlfriend, and no prospects.
- I had never been out of the country.
- I thought I was going to be a business major, or maybe an accountant.
- I didn't own a car, as I had spent as much money as possible on guitars and home entertainment equipment.
Exactly 5 years later:
- I was married to a girl from Durango, Mexico
- I had been out of the country to Mexico and Honduras multiple times
- I was a preacher for a church in Rose Bud, Arkansas (which I would have never heard of otherwise).
- I was a home owner, and had a dog and a cat.
I'll never forget the first time I went to visit some of the members at Rose Bud, and I ended up driving on dirt roads for the first time in my life. I was smiling to myself, talking to God, saying, "Where in the world are you taking me? How did I ever end up here?" When we were in Arkansas for the funeral this weekend, on the way to visit the family, we stopped to take some pictures of this road. Rose Bud brought me so many new experiences in so many different ways.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined my life the way it has turned out. I'm confident I will experience a lot more twists and turns as life continues. But it's all been good, and as I look back, I can see that God has been with me the whole way.
We are all shaped by our experiences. The good memories and positive examples give us something to treasure and to strive for. The bad experiences and hurt leave us with scars that persist and affect us. I continue to be amazed at just how much we grew to love the people in Arkansas. They will forever be a part of who I am. Relationships are an amazing gift from God.