While sitting here and typing this on Thursday the 29th , I have no idea which direction this column will go. It happens sometimes. Though unsettling, the words somehow find their way to the paper. There is a thought which weighs heavily on me. All I know to do is start there and see what comes. If I have a thought to begin, it is the Serenity Prayer. The prayers was written by theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr. It says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Change is much harder for some people than for others. However, we all experience some level of anxiety when faced with change. There are things in my life I would do differently if given the chance. But in life, there are no do overs. Many things in life are beyond our control.

We cannot will things to be different. It does not work like that. Most people with any level of decency would change many things in the world to make it a better place. Some things are not in our control by design. If they were in our control, we would find a way to mess things up.

Every column I write could be about any small town in America. The people I write about could just as easily be about any of those people living in one of those small towns. My columns just happened to be about Canton, Georgia. For no other reason that it is where I am from. We get so caught up in giving praise to those in the public eye, we sometimes lose our way. It is often the unknowns in our small town and others like it who make the community what it is. While we have laws, it is the community who decides what is acceptable or not within their confines.

People come and go from our lives. It is not always due to problems. We sometimes grow in different directions. Before my teen years, I spent more time with Brian Groves, Alan Johnson, and Lance Saxon than any of my other friends. There were others. Many others. But these three guys were the main ones. Why? Because our daddies were best friends. Brian inherited his father James’ kindness. He is soft spoken and kind to all who know him. Alan inherited his father Herbert’s love for Georgia Tech football which both have shared with me.

Lance inherited his father Frank’s love of Georgia Bulldog football and his love for life on the lake. All three inherited their fathers’ example of taking care of their families.

As for me, I inherited some of my daddy’s traits also. Unfortunately, I had the tendency to try and copy his negative traits. I often overlooked his many positive traits because of stubbornness. None of our daddies were perfect. They all made mistakes as we all do. Lance and I have lost our daddies. Both men suffered greatly before they died. Whatever they may have done wrong in their lives, I believe they paid for in full. Whether you agree or not, I believe we all will pay for our sins in one way or another.

When my Daddy was my age, he changed. If you knew him all his life, it was evident. What I perceived as weakening, was something else completely. I never understood it until a couple of months ago when I thought I was going to die. When I started feeling better, I realized I have been taking many things for granted. It is time to slow down and smell the roses. The time has come to choose happiness. And most importantly, the time has come to gather with other Christians once again in worshipping Christ. Plainly stated. Go to church.

There are many things we cannot change. We can change ourselves. It does not happen overnight. It is a continuing process. The process last as long as we live. Many times, I have tried to change things when it was not my place to change the situation. Every time, this resulted in failure. There have been many times I have lost touch with my three best friends as a child. Age has lit a fire under me to renew these friendships. And though I do not have my daddy’s ability to make something like that happen, I will do my best.

Let us be at peace with those things we cannot change. May we be brave enough to change the things we can. Most of all, may we take no action until we know the difference.

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Chris Collett is a longtime resident of Cherokee County.

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