Page 40 - Cityview May-June 2017
P. 40

MAY  JUNE 2017
Paradynamics—the use of willpower to change your core paradigms—can change our lives for the better or for the worse. It can be used to improve our life and the lives of those around us, or it can destroy us. Unfortunately, I fell to the dark side before understanding how to appropriately use this tool. I could have avoided this by carefully listening to life’s lessons early on.
But on the banks of the Nolichucky, I was about to get one of those lessons. It would, however, be years before I really understood and learned my lesson.
Making my actions congruent with what was truly best for me was the furthest thing from my mind. At that moment, I was sitting in the shadow of a several hundred-foot-tall rock wall and listening to the sound of the water rushing over the rocks, thinking, “I am going to live on the banks of the river!”
Water has always been one of the things that defines me, and the more often I am on it or in it, the better I feel. Lying back onto the hood of my trusty Valiant, I relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine as I listened to the song of nature and dreamed of bright, shiny, four-wheel drive trucks.
Just then, a rickety-looking car turned off State Highway 81 and onto the gravel
lane. I hoped that whoever this was wouldn’t take
up too much of my time
because Mr. Moss, the property owner, was due along at any moment.
The car was an Opal Cadet station wagon—a practical car, but not an inspiring or powerful one. My mother had owned one for years and had passed it along to me for a time. This one wasn’t in particularly good shape, and it stirred a considerable amount of dust as it came rattling to a halt on the gravel road.
An older gentleman stepped from the car and approached me. “Can I help you?” I remarked, indignant at being interrupted by something I deemed unimportant.
“Certainly, I am here to meet Nathan Sparks,” he said.
Stunned, I stammered, “You’re Mr. Moss?” Not sure exactly how to proceed, I chose to make small talk for a few minutes. But something was bugging me: that car just didn’t seem to fit the image of the man I had imagined. Mr. Moss was one of the town’s richest and most powerful people--and since I had just “paradynamically” rationalized that a good car equaled a good, powerful, and successful man, I could stand it no more. I asked, “Mr. Moss, with all of your money, you could drive any car you want. Why in the world would you pick that one?”
“Well son, I suppose you’re right,” he said. “I can afford any car I want
to drive, but this one is paid for and
it got me here safely. By not spending my money on fancy new cars, I have
it available to buy nice pieces of land like this one. By owning this land, I can
find folks like you that need to use it. It will produce income just by being here and will grow in value over time. It is a beautiful spot to come play in the river that will be here for me, and for my children and grandchildren. A new car, although nice, will not get me where I am going any better than this old one and will decrease in value every day I own it. I choose to ‘want’ things that will grow in value and bring me joy. Of course, if you want to spend your money on a new car that is your choice, just not in my opinion a good one.”
In the matter of a few words, Mr. Moss had given me a life lesson. But knowing isn’t the same as doing, and
to know and not to do is not to truly know. For many years, all too often I found myself falling into the trap of valuing “wants” over “needs.” That led me to being trapped in work scenarios that took away from my time with God and family. By allowing my mind to
act on those wants, I caused harm to those close to me. I am truly sorry and sincerely apologize to everyone who has ever encountered me in that state.
Most of my life has been about feeling good, at least temporarily—and seeing the world through the lens of immediate gratification. It seemed that if I had
the nicest car, fanciest house, prettiest girl, fastest boat, and stylish clothes, then I would be successful man. I was repressing and denying my true feelings and ignoring my real needs by seeking to feel good in the moment. And when the excessive work and stress became

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