Letter: Which path will you choose?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I appreciate the Nov. 8 Mountain Xpress issue publishing the four letters with the theme, “Why can’t we promote peace in the holiday parade?” It’s a moral issue, not political. Which path will you choose? Will you hand over your spiritual and mental freedom to those in authority who censor free speech? This is huge.

Democracy demands dialogue. When I have  conversations with young people, it doesn’t matter what political party, religious denomination or cultural nature, they recognize the polarization and divisiveness of the Disunited States of America.

This brings me again to “Life-Long-Learning.” Why read, study, reflect and participate in our democracy?  One neat thing about reading after your  formal schooling is that your focus is not on convincing the teacher to give you passing grades. You are free to form your own thoughtful opinions and in essence “take control of your own life.” What lessons are you learning now that will take you into the future?  Prepare yourself now spiritually and in the secular world for your second half of life and your retirement years, when you can do what you are called to do with more freedom.

Our American democracy is not a finished product but a creative process of becoming, if we the people participate. Our Constitution provides for amendments to meet the evolving changes of life. Our political, religious and cultural divisions arise because our story and our worldview are too narrow.

Yes, it’s hard work, but you will benefit if you consciously work at expanding your life into new insights and new desires. Resist the tendency to be complacent, while keeping an open mind to the never-ending journey of life. It’s your turn to forge a new American story with a strong passion for an ever-larger notion of truth, goodness and beauty.

I say to the younger generations, if not every day, at least once a month: Reflect on your life — are you evolving your understanding of what it is to be human? Reflect on this: Ignorance is a good thing when it motivates you to seek the truth. Commit yourself to become fully alive, engaged, discovering, questioning and learning. You may discover that the things you wish to avoid or neglect turn out to be what makes your life matter as real growth comes. Who are you going to be 10 or 50 years from now? What will be important to you as you age? Avoid floating aimlessly through life. Yes, life is hard, short, beautiful and sometimes scary, but your future is at stake. What you do or don’t do in your younger years will have positive or negative consequences that you can’t imagine.

On PBS’ “American Portrait,” an 86-year-old Dr. Esty said, “People in their 80s are happier than those in their prime of life.” And an 83-year-old said, “It’s not true that after 80, it’s all downhill.” I can attest to the truth of this. It’s up to you to discover this as you go through life.

As Robert Frost wrote, “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Or as my baseball hero Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” I can be reached at esacco189@gmail.com.

— Ed Sacco


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