The Path

The Path


Things aren’t always as you plan.

The NCAA Baseball Tournament’s Manhattan regional has given me the welcome excuse to spend a weekend in the promised land. Complete with crashing in the dorm’s guest housing, as though it was the late 90s all over again.

Today I took a walk through campus. Not a quick walk with a specific destination, but instead a meandering journey, visiting places on campus that I hadn’t seen for well over a decade. I walked from my old dorm along the paths I normally took to many of my classes. I turned and walked back towards the Union, through the oldest parts of campus, around Anderson Hall, and back by the spork, and to the dorm I’m staying in. It doesn’t sound like much. If you went to K-State you likely have a great idea of the path that I walked.

And it really wasn’t much. Some things have changed immensely, and other things will never change. There were no big revelations. There wasn’t a flood of memories that came back. At this point in my life I barely remember who I was during my time here. But I still have no doubts just how formative it was. See, when you choose where to go to school, you think you’re choosing a destination, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

You’re choosing the journey.

I didn’t become who I am now at K-State. I became who I was then. I’m no more the same person at 36 as I was at 24 than I was from 23 to 18. I not even sure I’m the same person I was two weeks ago, let alone 13 years ago. Our story isn’t one of a destination. It’s not about who we have become, but instead it’s the ongoing process of who we are becoming, and every choice we make… every path we venture down… changes what that becoming is. Choosing K-State wasn’t my destination, it was the first major choice in my journey.

And so here I am. Returning to that spot that I love full well, 13 years after finishing my work here. Life couldn’t be further from what I expected it to be. I’ve either forgotten or taken for granted everything that I learned here. I don’t use the degree that I earned, instead working in a career field that didn’t even exist when I was in school. I love that I’ve channeled my love of K-State sports into a hobby, and yet I’m sad that I’ll never get to take my child on a campus visit and pass on that passion. If I trace my steps back I see hundreds of places where I had a path to choose, each having led me to this moment.

Of course it’s not all just my choices. I can’t even begin to understand the consequences that opened and closed the paths from which I chose. I don’t know why, with serendipitous luck, some paths presented themselves, and why others were ripped out from under me in the most cruel of ways. I suppose it’s just the way life works. And we can respond to each path we take by choosing each individual tiny fork that presents itself just a few steps later. And while some, when presented with difficulty may choose to shrink back to adolescence, others forge ahead, never looking back from what is right. For better or worse, those are the choices that truly make us who we are.

And here’s where that journey began. The place where I took control of my own path. And ever it holds me with magic spell. I think of thee, alma mater.

Friday Happy Hour:  Definitely Donuts

Friday Happy Hour: Definitely Donuts

Every time I start a Friday Happy Hour post I start with ” It’s been awhile since I’ve done this…”  which is true again.  But as always, the questions are from Mental Floss, the answers are mine. 

Donut.1. Everyone has a good story about a terrible job. But today let’s focus on the single thing you hated most. What was the worst part of your worst job?

Working as a plumber my for a summer on K-State’s campus I had to rod out the sewage lines in the Jardine Apartments. All you can really do is pretend you have no idea what’s coming out of that line, and that it’s not nearly as bad as the reality.


2. My daughter Charlotte (4) informed me that she “hates Nemo” for limiting our mobility. The Weather Channel wins. What other things should we start naming?

Donuts. Definitely donuts.


3. We want to add a bunch of kitchen gadgets to the mental_floss store. We need some suggestions! What perhaps-lesser-known kitchen items have made a big impact on your cooking and eating life? They could be made by big corporations or tiny companies still looking for a break.

My hot chocolate maker. Seriously.  I can make all sorts of drinks that essentially fake coffee shop fancy drinks. At least better than a gas station machine does.


4. The floor is yours. If you’ve got a question for your fellow _flossers, ask away!

Ok, this one makes no sense when I move it over to my blog… so how about this… you ask me a question in the comments if you want, and I’ll answer.


A Theologically Accurate Post-Game Speech

A Theologically Accurate Post-Game Speech

“Because if God is for us, no one can be against us.” -Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis is the subject of plenty of jokes.  And I made a few of my own throughout the game as well.  But after the game we got yet another form of the traditional post-game “we did this because God wanted us to win” speech.  And of course the natural next step to that is that if God wanted Ray Lewis and the Ravens to win the Superbowl that would also mean that He has something against Collin Kaepernick and the 49ers.  God sure is cruel, isn’t He?

So it got me thinking about what would happen if someone were to give a more theologically accurate post-game speech:

“I’d like to thank my teammates for working hard and accomplishing this goal.  We won because we didn’t get called for a holding call in the end zone that may have given San Francisco a chance at the end, and overall we just outplayed the 49ers.

“I’d like to thank God for being my guide.  He sent his Son, Jesus, to shows us the way.  He taught us to love our enemies (which based on the fights we saw on the field today, we could still learn from).  He taught us to stay humble and learn to put others ahead of ourselves.  He taught us that blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, and those who thirst for hunger and righteousness.  He said blessed are the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted.  He may not care much about who wins a football game, but He cares what we do with our lives off the field. Let’s make the world a better place.”

It’s just so much harder to say that before Jim Nantz pulls the microphone away.