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Hartselle Enquirer

Life-altering decisions 

By A. Ray Lee


Decisions that one makes are like seeds planted in the soil. They inevitably bear fruit and often drastically alter one’s life.  

When I graduated at age 17 from Falkville High School in 1954, I did not have a clear vision for the future. My goal to complete high school had been reached while many of my peers had dropped out to work on family farms.  

I faced a big question: “What next?” 

There seemed to be several options, each with its own unique challenges. During my senior year, a growing desire to attend college had caused me to visit two campuses where I had a first-hand view of campus life and had been allowed to sit in a few classes as a prospective student. I was impressed, but the reality of my situation had to be considered.  

Community colleges to which one could commute daily were not yet in our area. Therefore, to attend college would require living away from home at a cost for which I would have to find funds. Student loans were not readily available. I did not qualify for any kind of material scholarship. For me, the only hope seemed to be finding a college that provided aid through a work scholarship program. I receive a catalog from one such institution but did not follow through in seeking more information.  

Another option was to join a branch of the military as my two older brothers had soon after their graduation. They were happy with their escape from the rigors of farm life. Indeed the older one made a successful career in the U. S. Air Force. But I would not be 18 years old until six months later and there was no way J. J. was going to sign for me to enlist early and let him lose another farmhand.    

Another possibility would be to seek a job in one the plants which had recently been built along the Tennessee River. Although they were hiring, my age would be problematic. They were looking for mature individuals who were interested in long-term employment. 

I did not choose any of the above options. Not having a clear vision of what I wanted out of life caused me to defer and postpone making a binding decision. Instead, I accepted a temporary job that would last about three weeks with the Morgan County Farm Agency. Then I got what turned out to be a summer job in Dayton, Ohio.  

I would commit my future unto the Lord and wait for him to guide my path. That was the best decision I ever made. My way into the future would soon become clear as I committed myself unto his guidance. I did find a way to attend college and graduate school and into Christian ministry.