1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Defining Moment:
To describe a moment which changed or alters our course or direction in life.
Dan Duff

There are many defining moments in our lives. Some are subtle and only cause us to veer our life’s course. Others are brash and when it hits us its like a head-on collision with a freight train. Some recover from these moments and work to get back on course. Some just stay on the new direction and never try to change course. Either way its a struggle which lasts until the next defining moment. This goes on until we reach an age when you don’t make any of the decisions. If we change direction or veer from our course in our old age, that moment is caused by others making the decision for you.

 My greatest defining moment was and still is my religious decisions. Whether we want to admit it or not, our defining how we connect with God is one of the most important and lasting decisions we will ever make. I would like very much right here to get you to buy into what I have found to be the most wonderful and gratifying defining moment in my life. I won’t do that in this column, but if you are interested, I would be more than glad to share that with you in a phone call or e-mail. Some of the great motivational speakers and super salesmen in this country tell us great success comes from grasping and holding on to something greater than ourselves. Well, no one can loose if they grab and hold on to God. 

I have a preacher friend who has made a great defining moment. After almost a lifetime of service, he is now joining the ranks of pilgrims who go off each year as missionaries. I know this decision was made after a lot of planning and prayer. I think we could all do with some serious prayer before we make our defining moments. In fact his decision to make this change is the reason for this column. Charles is a dear friend. One of those friends who is always there for you no matter what course you take and always there when life starts throwing those curves at you. Sometimes we don’t see each other for a while, but when we do we just take up where we left off. Charles tells people, “a true friend is one who knows everything about you and still likes you.” I will miss Charles and will ask God everyday to watch over him. I know that one day he will call and tell me he is back in town and we will take up where we left off. 

One great defining moment in my life was when I joined the military. One minute I was a simple country boy sitting on a billboard next to a bridge drinking a Pepsi, the next I am shoved into a mixture of young men from twenty states and twenty different backgrounds, trying to survive boot camp. I knew that my life had taken a much different course than the one I wanted, but I also knew I would have to make this change and try to make the most of the experience. After serving for three years I decided that the military was not the direction in which I felt I should go in life and had myself another defining moment. 

A couple of real important defining moments we have that seems to give the most trouble is our vocation and our life mate. While these defining moments seem to take the most preparation and the most planning, they seem to be the ones we stumble and fall all over. These are the defining moments we question the most. These are the moments we seem to want to constantly change. We are always saying to ourselves, “boy, old so and so sure is successful, I wish I had a job like his.” A spouse saying, “I wish I could trade the one I got for the one I thought I was getting.” 

There have been a lot of those moments which I won’t go into in this article. Some of them are funny, some are disastrous, and some made an impact on my life that even yet the scars have not healed. So why write about defining moments if you don’t give the gory details of your life’s defining moments? The main reason is these were my decisions. No one but me is responsible for them. No one except me can explain them. The direction in which we travel through life is made by only one person, you. Oh, we can try to emulate another’s lifestyle or way of life, but we have to make our own path, our own way.  

Our country is now at a defining moment. This (election) defining moment will tell us The United States will set and run its own course or The United Nations will set and run our course. There are those who would even turn the election itself over to the United Nations.

 My friend Charles used to warn his congregation that they were only a pastor away from one who would wreck and devastate the congregation. The next preacher didn’t do it, but the one who followed him wrecked the church, scattered the congregation and the building is now a social center instead of a church. If we are not careful, we as individuals and as a country, could do the same.