Friday, February 17, 2012

Chain-smoking, alcoholic prostitutes

Royalty-free Image: Fork in the Road
photo credit

It is widely accepted among my siblings that our Aunt Barb is one of the coolest people ever. Among the other pearls of wisdom I've heard her share, Barb once claimed that if it weren't for her faith she would probably have become a chain smoking, alcoholic prostitute. That is exactly the sort of conviction that makes Barb so completely awesome.

Sometimes I think about what she meant when she said that and turn it over in my mind, applying it to my own choices. For all of us there were probably some pretty intense forks in the trail, and there will be more forks up ahead that will determine the whole shape and fabric of our life. I'm happy to report that instead of becoming a chain smoking, alcoholic prostitute my aunt raised five incredibly cool children. She reads. She writes. She travels and I'm pretty sure she's seen more art house films than anyone else I know. I know it hasn't been a smooth or perfect ride for Barb, but I know a lot of people love and respect her. Personally, I would kick someone else off the bus any day of the week in order to save a seat for Barb.

It is possible for me to go days, weeks, sometimes even months as if I'm moving through my life with a blanket over my head, preoccupied with the feelings and sensations of Right This Minute. But this morning I woke up thinking about Barb and how pleased she is that she didn't turn out to be a chain smoking, alcoholic prostitute. For me this anecdote is an effective (and humorous) jolt of reality. Keep track of the bigger picture. Be grateful for the things you did right. And pay attention to the forks in the road that will matter most.

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