Where the crossroads take you is a choice

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By Susan Sharp

At some point we all reach a crossroads.

It can be a moral, ethical, physical or spiritual one. But nonetheless we all find ourselves there.

I was reminded of this last week as I sat in criminal court. There mixed in with the other defendants were two guys I had gone to school with.

The first one I went all through school with – from kindergarten to high school graduation. I remember him from elementary school as a small round-faced little boy. He didn’t disrupt class anymore than the rest of us did, he didn’t sass the teachers and in general was an all right kid.

But the image I saw in court was much different. He was a gaunt tired looking man who appeared much older than he should. Court records said he was there because he tried to get his hands on narcotics by committing fraud. In fact, he allegedly tried to do this 10 times. While this in itself is sad what is even more disturbing is the fact that this wasn’t his first skirmish with authorities, according to court records.

The other one I went to high school with. In my mind we were pretty good friends and at one point I even had a slight crush on him. When he appeared in court last week the docket said he was there for a variety of alcohol related offenses. He was sitting with the inmates.

As I sat there among the lawyers, probation officers, defendants and various other on lookers I was struck by the question – what makes us take the wrong turn?

Why do we go left when right is the obvious choice?

Perhaps it is not a conscious decision but rather an unexplained force of nature that drives us to self- destructive behavior.

Or perhaps the explanation is much simpler.

Maybe we just aren’t paying attention when it comes time to make a choice and we default to the easiest road.

Where that road can take us is to an incredibly dangerous place. It can take us to the edge of the infamous slippery slope. And before we know it we are precariously dangling one toe over the edge.

I am not criticizing these two men. When it comes to glass houses mine is pretty big.

But their presence in court did give me reason to pause. Once life navigates us down the path of woes are we destined for no return? Isn’t there a wide spot in the road where we can make a U-turn? A place where we can apply the brakes and salvage what’s left?

From the balcony of my glass house I can see those places. But keep in mind, they are secluded and great distances lie between them.

That is where the taking stock comes into play. Deciding whether to turn around when the road has already become so twisted and narrow is an individual decision.

We each have limits only known to ourselves. We know when too much is truly too much and how little it takes to reach too much.

And even though we all live in glass houses where our every move can be watched, prognosticated on and even judged at the end of the day there is only one piece of glass that truly matters- the looking glass.