Our lives are shaped by decisions

By Gregg Heid
Special to The PREVIEW
Connie walked up to me in the parking lot after school. “Gregg, will you go to the Sadie Hawkins Dance with me?”
“Yes, I’d love to. When is it?” I knew, but wanted to be coy about the situation, plus I was waiting for an invite from Kendra.
“This Friday night. We start with the tubing hill then go to the high school for the dance.”
“Great,” I said. “Are you going to pick me up in your Jeep?”
“Yes I’ll be by at 6.”
Later on in the week, Janice stopped me in the hallway of school. “Gregg, Kendra wants to talk to you after school. She says to meet her out back by the tennis courts.”
Now my stomach was all tied in knots. What did she want?
After school, I went out by the courts. Kendra stood alone by the net. I walked up to her, “Janice said you wanted to talk to me.”
“Have you been asked to the Sadie Hawkins dance yet?”
“Not yet.” I looked into her beautiful eyes.
“Then I’m asking, will you go with me?”
“I was hoping you’d ask me, I’d love to go with you. Are you driving?
“Sure, I’ll pick you up around 6. Be ready and wear lots of warm clothes in case I push you off the inner tube.”
What have I done? I just lied to the girl of my dreams and now have to make up another lie to get out of my predicament. But it would be worth it. I’m going with Kendra. She’s so exciting and fun to be with.
The next day at school, I saw Connie in front of the girls bathroom talking with some of her friends. “Are you going with Del?”
“He couldn’t go. They have a wrestling match that night and will be in Monument.”
“Who ya gonna ask?”
“Tyke, if he’s still available.”
“What about you, Connie?”
“I’m going with Gregg.”
I walked up to her, “Connie, I need to talk to you in private.”
“Ooooo, better watch out girl,” teased the other girls.
We walked away from her friends. “Something’s come up and I can’t go to the dance with you.”
“Why not?”
“I’ll be out of town with family. My uncle died last night.”
“I’m so sorry, Gregg. When are you leaving?
“Tomorrow.”
“Guess I’ll be home alone on Friday.”
Yes, just what I wanted to hear.
“I wish I could go with you. It’s just how things worked out.”
I was pacing the floor and looking out the window when Kendra’s car pulled into our driveway.
“See ya, Mom.”
“Have fun, Honey.”
I opened the car door. “Good thing you have on your ski pants ‘cause you’re going to get dumped.”
“Not before you end up head first in the powder,” she countered.
“We’ll see about that.”
When we arrived at the hill, couples were already screaming down on their tubes and walking back up together. I couldn’t wait to get on the tube with Kendra. She parked and we grabbed a tube from the lot. As we walked up the hill, a tube came right at us. We jumped out of the way as Brad and Connie sped by on their tube. Connie’s big brown eyes cut right through me. My night was ruined.
Whether we realize it or not, our lives are shaped by the decisions we’ve made in the past. I still remember that Sadie Hawkins dance like it was last weekend. It was decades ago. I made the wrong decision not to go with the first girl who asked me. My pleasure and joy of being with Kendra could not overcome my guilt and shame. That decision made me realize the importance of telling the truth. It also taught me empathy. My pleasure did not overcome Connie’s pain, and I realized that.
We are who we are because of the decisions we’ve made thus far in life. We live with those decisions for the rest of our lives.
“In everything, therefore treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” — Matthew 7:12 (NAS).

This story was posted on September 14, 2017.