I see my life as a series of decisions. None of them were good or bad, but each of them set me on the path that I am on today.
When I was about 10, my class visited a retirement center to sing for the seniors living there. After singing a few songs, an elderly man grabbed me by the arm and said, “I want to tell this young man that he has a God-given gift.” It was the first time anyone had noticed my singing.
In about fifth grade, I joined Boy’s Choir, and enjoyed singing with 20 other pre-pubescent boys in public. I was dismayed, however, when one day I was told that I could no longer sing with the Boys Choir because my voice was changing. I thought my life was over.
My freshman year in academy, I didn’t sing, and was lost in the midst of the many other freshmen. I had no identity. When my sophomore year came around, I joined the elite choir as a second-tenor, and the kids in that choir became my friends and my co-conspirators. The Royalaires helped find my identity.
While I was in academy, I discovered another love. Writing. First I wrote poetry, then short stories, then stage plays. My junior year, I took speech and did some drama. At the end of my junior year, the drama teacher invited me to be part of the elite drama group on campus. The only caveat was that I would not be able to be a part of the Royalaires. I loved drama, and I loved music, and I struggled with the decision all weekend. On Monday, I told the drama teacher that I chose to stay in Royalaires. That was my first fork in the road. When graduation came, that teacher went to teach in southern California, and those who had been in drama went with him. I chose music, and went to college in Napa Valley in northern California. That decision led me to the girl who became my wife.
My sophomore year in college, I chose to go to Austria for a year. While I was there, I discovered that I could write music. And with that, I formed a gospel folk group and began performing. My music writing and performing continued the next two years, interspersed with writing plays, one of which I directed and produced for my senior project.
When I left college and got married, I continued with music performance, but I got more and more interested in writing. I sang solos in church, helped out with song service and occasionally sang in other areas. When my kids got to earliteen age, I picked up the guitar and led them in their Sabbath school. But I didn’t talk about writing more music or doing anything serious with it. I grew more and more infatuated with the idea of writing books.
When I left Idaho and came to Texas to teach and run a Christian radio station, I decided that being surrounded with Christian music all day was enough for me. I turned my back on singing in public. At the same time, I had more time for writing books. Sixteen years later, I have sixteen books under my belt. My writing career has taken off, but a lot of it is because I committed myself to writing whenever and however I could. That was the second fork in the road.
Sometimes I look back and wonder what my life would have been like if I had pursued music seriously. I was pretty good at writing music, I could have gotten better at guitar, and I held my own as a baritone soloist and in many groups. I could have majored in music in college instead of journalism, and who know what I would be doing today. Writing music professionally? Performing? Teaching music?
The point of all of this is that we all have decisions we make in life, and those decisions don’t stop when we grow up. Some can change your life, even if you don’t know it at the time.
But that’s what life is all about–decisions.
2 thoughts on “Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for that very important reminder.
This post is inspiring. I would have never guessed everything you said about your the musical side. (I smiled when you mentioned guitar.) Always a thanks for sharing.
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