How do you know when you made a good decision? As a young man I ate a small bag of smoked almonds and was terribly ill and to this day that decision goes into the really bad column. I also took a shuttle flight in a tiny airplane the time I accompanied my mother to her her Supreme Court hearing in Washington D.C. (I story I will tell in a few days). I threw up continually and used up everybody's air bag- turned white as Santa Claus's ass and prayed for death. No doubt about that decision being in the bonehead column. Some decisions fool you. For a long time I bemoaned my decision to pursue electronics tech. in college at the urging of long dead uncles who all worked for IBM. I hated school-hated science-hated parking at the base of the Himalayas and the walk up the equivalent of the Mt. Carmel terraces to get to class. I can still crack walnuts with my thigh muscles (a good party trick except I don't go to parties). Up until a few years ago this decision was firmly in the negative decision making category, but I have just finished a book with two friends that took over a decade and I gradually noticed that the part of my mind that thinks in long logical patterns was formed in calculus class and physic's labs. So that college decision has slowly shifted into the win column. There is a Buddhist parable that relates a persons back and forth evaluation of what constitutes a positive or negative outcome. I can't remember the long tale but the point is profound. A young man damages a knee and is plunged into despair, but war brakes out and he is spared because of his knee-the pendulum continually swings to and fro until you realize just how difficult it is to evaluate what has befallen us in this lifetime and it is why the philosophers tell us that "Only a fool is sure" but I have made several wonderful decisions-becoming a Baha'i, marrying Karen, being a part of a ridiculous process from which emerged Laurel and Julia. I had to this positive list giving permission for my daughter Laurel to marry Sisay. Here is the letter that was read on my behalf at their wedding in Haifa, Israel.
A Letter to my Children
This scroll wound up tightly unfolds its mysterious secrets just like your marriage will
reveal its hidden treasures which are given to you both by the Hidden Treasure, Baha'u'llah.
He is the first among your wedding guests to arrive and His gift was given to you long ago
before your entrance into this world. The marriage of the graceful nobility of Sisay with the dancing compassionate mind of Laurel form overlapping hearts. Pay close attention to the shared area. It is a new land formed like a volcanic island in the middle of the ocean. Don't be afraid of the volcano. From time to time it will erupt in fury with raging heated winds and a deafening sound. Know that the embers will cool. The hazy mist will dissipate. The roar will fade away leaving only the sound of gentle winds caressing a lush green island. It is on this island that you, Sisay and you, Laurel will live forever.