Last night “shocking news” came to the “Chicken Fried Nation” when we learned that yet another Dallas Cowboys’ player was brought up on charges for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. I am sure a lot of my “friends” and for certain some of my social media peeps have said all sorts of things about this man. “How is it possible for you to be so dumb that 6 weeks after another Cowboy crashed and killed a teammate for driving under the influence, Jay would get behind a wheel of a car under the influence.” Well, how is it possible that with the experiences of others anyone would be so foolish? Someone once said that experience is the best teacher. Quite honestly I laugh at that, because I don’t want to experience everything others have just to learn from them. I much rather learn from the experiences of others. I learned from the experiences of siblings and friends not to have a baby in my teens, out of wedlock, etc. I learned from the experiences of my Mom and Dad on making wise decisions concerning schooling, etc. Not to say I have been perfect in my learning and yes I, too have done “the fool” and not taking heed to the examples of others and did my own thing just to get hit upside the head. Notice how even God echoes this sentiment, “For whatever things were written before were written fr our leaning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
I guess the better question to all of this is, how many of us drive under the influence everyday? We may not drive intoxicated with alcohol, but we surely drive intoxicated with sleep, cell phones, erratic emotions, etc. We hear the statistics all the time of how many people crash or die behind the wheel due to texting and driving (but we feel like we are better than them, right?) How often do we get on the highways knowing that we are too tired to make it, but struggle our ways down the road? The bad thing about some experiences is that we think because we could do it once, we can do it again. It’s like driving from Dallas to Fort Worth and you are broke, but your gas light comes on and all you think you are left to do is try to make it. What happens the next time you are driving with money in your pocket and the gas light comes on? (You think back to the experience when you made it and depending on how lazy you are you chance it). This blog isn’t written to blast Jay Ratliff for what appears to be a foolish decision, but rather for us to take a look at ourselves and also see how much we are like the Jay Ratliffs of the world. Each and every day the example of others have gone before us and instead of following their examples on what to do or what to avoid, we decide that “they aren’t us.”
What are some ways you have learned from the experiences of others? What are things you can improve upon? How has the news of Jay Ratliff taught you about yourself?