Mr. Magoo Years

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

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6 Responses to Mr. Magoo Years

  1. Pingback: Our Plans, God’s Purposes and Faith | Connecting Dots…to God

  2. Pingback: Vocation, Value and Virtue: Three Ingredients of Meaningful Work | Connecting Dots…to God

  3. Jan says:

    LOVE your “Mr Magoo” caricature and this post, Judy, on many levels! Such an apt description of youth. It is a perfect analogy to God’s providence in our lives, as well. I think of you (and me) during those years another way too. Instead of just being clueless , I’d rather say that you had a kind of “clueless faith”. You may not have had the relationship with God then that you do now, but you had a baby faith. And you see in retrospect that He was there guiding and you were there following His prompts – all leading you to where you are now. Mr. Magoo was a happy, smiling, carefree, rather child-like fellow who trusted that his next step would land on solid ground. That’s faith!!! So don’t be so hard on yourself, dear big sis! You were fairly age appropriate, I think! The Magoo analogy also gives me comfort that we don’t all have to be theological superstars to enjoy God’s care and guidance. Even a mustard seed, baby Magoo faith was enough to keep you (and me and hopefully the other young Magoos in our family) from going off the plank, so to speak! God does protect the simple hearted!!! Thank goodness!!!!!!!
    Love you, Magoo!

    • Judy says:

      Yes, fellow Magoo, we were happy, smiling, and carefree as we dodged disasters, weren’t we? Did I sound hard on myself? I didn’t mean to. I really do think of my Mr. Magoo years with an indulgent smile and a thankful heart for, as you so rightly put it, God’s providence in my life before I knew him well enough to ask intelligently. Thanks for your encouraging words. Love you back!

  4. Susie says:

    What a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness. How he cares for us even when we do not acknowledge him! It helps to hear stories of his faithfulness – especially when we are waiting – often anxiously and despairingly – to experience a sense of purpose and the full life he promises. In our seasons of disappointment and uncertainty – may God bless us with a willingness to trust him – “to keep our gaze on him” – and cling to his many promises to fulfill his good plans for us and our loved ones. Psalm 145

    • Judy says:

      Yes! I’m thankful that I now know his promises (and I love Psalm 145 – it’s full of them!). He was faithful to me before I knew enough to depend on his faithfulness. Thanks Susie!

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