Writing my last post about my son’s perseverance toward his goals reminded me of my own young adult years. I fondly refer to them as my “Mr. Magoo years.” In contrast to my son, who has well-defined goals, I approached life with aspirations that could charitably be described as…flexible.
Remember Mr. Magoo? He was a hopelessly nearsighted cartoon character who marched through life blissfully unaware of imminent danger at every step. Yep, that was me.
I graduated from college with a dean’s list GPA and a business degree, but I had no idea what to do with it. When my good friend, Janine, invited me to rent a room in her newly purchased house, I took her up on it. I just needed a job. Right away. Thankfully, before my cash ran out, I found a job as a computer programmer even though I had absolutely no knowledge of or experience with computer programming. Turns out, after a little training, that I was a decent programmer and it wasn’t long before I moved from the small software house to a large pharmaceutical company where I spent several years leading systems development projects. I didn’t aspire to that particular career; I just blithely bumbled into it.
My first business trip was a classic Mr. Magoo moment. Shortly after being hired as a programmer with no programming experience, I was sent to Boston for three weeks of desperately needed training. My parents lived in Boston at the time, and since I had not yet established credit, and therefore had no Visa card, my dad had planned to pick me up at the airport and had made arrangements for me to rent a car. I would be ready to go on Monday morning. Sure. The Sunday afternoon flight was delayed…and then delayed some more…a lot more. By the time it was actually cancelled, it was midnight.
Since I was foolish and broke, I had a grand total of $7 on me so a cab was out of the question. I spent the night at a cafeteria table having a surprisingly deep conversation with a Jewish man, a young Mormon on his way to an obligatory year or two of Mormon evangelism, and one other guy whose details escape me. (I would love to repeat that conversation now. ) The plane took off at 5 AM the next day, and I arrived at work for my first day of training having had no sleep and sheepishly asking the receptionist if she could make arrangements to pay for the cab. Amazingly, they didn’t send me back to Chicago on the spot, and somehow I survived the day. “Oh, Magoo, you’ve done it again!”
Would my life have been different if I had more purposefully planned it? No doubt. Would it have been “better?” Not necessarily. I like the way my life has played out, in spite of my clueless Mr. Magoo years.
Looking back, I realize that I had no plans because I had no passion. I had no passion because I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know myself because I didn’t know my Lord. Well, I knew him, but I rarely consulted him about things like life plans. Yet, God graciously guided me in my aimlessness, and he has corrected my nearsighted self-focus by directing my gaze to him. He has all the answers. I have found myself and my passion in my Lord.
“The Lord protects the simple-hearted…” Psalm 116:6