For Better or Worse – The Conflict Between Right and Wrong

Good and evil

I was a man polarized by two overwhelming forces.  You’re probably envisioning the caricature of an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. I know what you’re thinking.  Most of you aren’t going to risk wagering a bet as to the direction I yielded.  You have the wisdom to know, it could have gone either way.  Sadly, there is probably more truth to that than I’m comfortable to admit.  Pardon the pun, but “honestly” I need to be more consistent in the direction in which I pitch my tent.   When one comes to a fork in the road, it always serves one best to choose the best course.

This time the conflict had to do with the appeal associated to “Go West, Young Man, Go West” and the “Lure Of The City” opposed to the internal conflict between “good and evil”, although both expressions have the potential to result in a similar quandary.  The expression “Go West, Young Man, Go West” is credited to John Babson Lane Soule in the Terre Haute Express in 1851.  It became popular when Horace Greeley rephrased it slightly in an editorial in the New York Tribune on July 13, 1865.  He added the concept, “Go West, young man and grow up with the country.”  It caught the imagination of young men returning from the Civil War.  They headed west to take up a homestead.

The term “Lure Of The City” appeared in a novel entitled “Sister Carrie” (1900) written by Theodore Dreiser.  It is the story about Caroline “Sister Carrie” Meeber, a young country girl, who moved from her rural Wisconsin home to Chicago at the age of 18.  She openly embraced her own version of the American Dream which to, carried with it the same quandary, the conflict between good and evil.

For me, yesterday, the quandary wasn’t directly associated to the conflict between good and evil.  The lure of the city was associated to the fact that I was hungry. It was very close to the near of the work day and I had not had breakfast or lunch.  I was starving (well, maybe not so much, but I was really hungry).  Just as Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup, I was leaning toward (lure of the city) driving to the Galleria area in Houston (ie: heavy traffic) to dine at Canyon Café.  The restaurant is located on Post Oak and hands-down it irrefutably serves the most scrumptious cobb salad I have ever eaten.  Even as I write these words, the assortment of bacon, blue cheese, and avocado are vivid in my imagination.  Add to that the salsa and assortment of chips they serve as an appetizer and it is a venue worthy of both lunch and dinner.

The notion of “Go West” won out.  It all had to do with traffic patterns.  My hotel was located in the “West Houston Energy Corridor”.  I needed to get well beyond the Beltway as quickly as I could to avoid the stop and go (mostly stop) traffic congestion.  In reflecting back, I’m not sure I made the best choice.  I opted to avoid the traffic and go west.  In so doing, I also passed up Pappasitos, another of my favorite restaurants.  I guess that further substantiates my disdain for heavy traffic.

As it turned out, there is a Lupe’s Tortilla a couple of miles from my hotel.  When I arrived, the host asked if I preferred inside or outside.  In uncharacteristic fashion, I opted for outside.  The weather was perfect and the dining experience proved so as well.  Of course, it may have had more to do with a telephone call I received in the midst of my dinner than the actual dining experience.

I received a telephone call from a friend.  His name was identified on my phone before I actually answered the call.  He said, “Don, I am calling about the book.  Did you get my email?”  I had no idea what he was talking about and I had not looked at email.  He went on to explain, “I’m calling about your book.  It is incredible.   Thank you for sharing it with me.  I found it really helpful”.  Wow!  What a feel good experience!  I later discovered his email.  It stated it part: “Your book is captivating and inspirational.  Chicken soup for the soul!  It really made me think, how can I be a better person?  You must sleep good at night knowing you’re an outstanding and wonderful friend, husband, father, granddad, brother, uncle and grandson. I’m honored to have received a signed copy of your book and hope many more folks get to read it.  Thank you for your friendship!!!”

My friend’s telephone call and email was a feel good experience that really boosted my spirits. Truthfully, anything I’ve written down that is beneficial for anyone is evidence of my good fortune to have had the opportunity to write it down.  It didn’t come from me.  I’m still the guy who often halts between two opinions.  I am at times a man polarized by two overwhelming forces.  The caricature of an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other is a fairly accurate picture image.  Truthfully, the times I opt to get it right, I can’t take credit for those either.  I am simply the recipient of God’s unconditional love.  That too, is the ultimate, feel good experience.

All My Best!



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