Monday, February 8, 2010

Where Men Win Glory

I've recently been reading the newest Jon Krakauer book, Where Men Win Glory, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  It has brought my attention to events that I never knew happened and it has also made me evaluate my own life, pursuits, and motivations.  Today, I read a portion of the book that contained an excerpt from Pat Tillman's journal, just before he entered the military, walking away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract.  The document was titled "Decision," and I thought some might enjoy the read.

Many decisions are made in our lifetime, most relatively insignificant while others life altering.  Tonight's topic....the latter.  It must be said that my mind, for the most part, is made up.  More to the point, I know what decision I must make.  It seems that more often than not we know the right decision long before it's actually made.  Somewhere inside, we hear a voice, and intuitively know the answer to any problem or situation we encounter.  Our voice leads us in the direction of the person we wish to become, but it is up to us whether or not to follow.  More times than not we are pointed in a predictable, straightforward, and seemingly positive direction.  However, occasionally we are directed down a different path entirely.  Not necessarily a bad path, but a more difficult one.  In my case, a path that many will disagree with, and more significantly, one that may cause a great deal of inconvenience to those I love.
     My life at this point is relatively easy.  It is my belief that I could continue to play football for the next seven or eight years and create a very comfortable lifestyle for not only Marie and myself, but be afforded the luxury of helping out family and friends should a need ever arise.  The coaches and players I work with treat me well and the environment has become familiar and pleasing.  My job is challenging, enjoyable, and stokes my vanity enough to fool me into thinking it's important.  This all aside from the fact that I only work six months a year, the rest of the time is mine.  For more reasons than I care to list, my job is remarkable.  
     On a personal note, Marie and I are getting married a month from today.  We have friends and family we care a great deal about and the time and means to see them regularly.  In the last couple months we've been skiing in Tahoe, ice climbing in Utah,  perusing through Santa Fe, visiting California, and will be sipping Mai Tais in Bora Bora in a little over a month.  We are both able to pursue any interests that strike our fancy and down the road, any vocation or calling.  We even have two cats that make our house feel like a home.   In short, we have great life with nothing to look forward to but more of the same.  
     However, it is not enough.  For much of my life I've tried to follow a path I believed important.  Sports embodied many of the qualities I deem meaningful: courage, toughness, strength, etc., while at the same time, the attention I received reinforced its seeming importance.  In the pursuit of athletics I have picked up a college degree, learned invaluable lessons, met incredible people, and made my journey much more valuable than any destination.  However, these last few years, and especially after recent events, I've come to appreciate just how shallow and insignificant my role is.  I'm no longer satisfied with the path I've been's no longer important.
     I'm not sure where this new direction will take my life though I am positive it will include its share of sacrifice and difficulty, most of which is falling squarely on Marie's shoulders.  Despite this, however, I am equally positive that this new direction will, in the end, make our lives fuller, richer, and more meaningful.  My voice is calling me in a different direction.  It is up to me whether or not to listen. 

If you're anything like me, you'll be pondering the words above for days to come!!!!

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