We control nothing but our destiny

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

The older - and hopefully, wiser - I get the more thinking I do. Funny, the things you think about as you age. I spend a good part of my time reflecting. Ever stop to ponder what is really important in life? And how weak we mortals are?

I happened to be on a dove shoot recently in west Dallas County held for the Marion Military Institute Alumni Battalion. Many alumni in attendance were classmates of mine at that storied institution some 45 years ago. Some of us got to talking about lost cemetaries in the Dallas and Perry County regions of Alabama's Black Belt and the "people" who inhabit them. Some of these cemetaries are totally unkept with pine trees growing up in them. But many of those who are buried in those cemetaries were the powerful and mighty of that day circa 1850! Their cotton bales sold at a very profitable price were loaded aboard paddle wheel steamboats at Old Cahaba (Alabama's capitol) on the Alabama River, shipped to New Orleans and then to France. The plantation owners lived "high on the hog." Then, bam! On April 12, 1861 at 4:30 a.m., the South fired the "first shot" over Fort Sumter; and the Civil War was on.

In just a few years, the plantation owners in the South were penniless; and Old Cahaba was no more. Indeed, one of the large brick cotton storage warehouses at Old Cahaba was converted into a federal prison during the war. Several thousand Yankee prisoners of war were herded into it. Many of them died, especially of disease.

There are several cemetaries at Old Cahaba. In one, Confederate and Yankee troops are buried side by side. How ironic. They tried - and did - kill each other only to be buried in the same "bunk bed" so to speak.

I have a theory. When we are young, we think that we can change the world. When we get old, we realize - at least I do - that God controls everything, and we should let Him steer the boat! In actually, we humans control nothing except our destiny. Oh, yes. We can create disasters like the Civil War, but we cannot determine the outcome. But, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has given us the opportunity to make a choice as to where we will spend eternal life. If we make the right choice it really does not matter where we are buried. Does it?