There is a metaphor for life hidden in today’s fog smudged horizon of sea and sky.
Truth is, we often don’t know where out next step or thought will take us. The fog opens only as we step or think our way into it. We may make plans toward a certain horizon, yet lay them aside for something else that comes along. One step leads to another until many steps down the road, we have become the people our steps and thoughts have made us.
All the people, places and experiences I have known have, in some imperceptible way, shaped me into the person I am today. Had I not known them, I would be different. Most were small differences. But at times, I was pointed toward changes that opened up life toward fresh horizons.
And yet, those life opening events did not appear important at the time. I recall one change that came by one who was not much more than a friendly acquaintance. Our husbands were friends and she and I were along for the ride. Who can say why Paula took such an interest in my failure to land that elusive first accounting job? But she did.
Paula held no important position in the community. Nor did Paula hold an influential position at the bank where she worked. So when Paula told me she was going to put in a good word on my behalf, with the public accounting firm that served as the bank’s independent auditor, I didn’t believe anything would come of it.
But I’m glad she didn’t see it that way. The discouraging fog that often hems us in from helping others was just not in Paula’s line of vision. This small hourly worker, who later became a waitress, went up to the firm’s hiring partner and landed me an invitation to interview. All I had to do was call and schedule a time.
I placed the call with memory of many rejections still fresh in my mind, only to learn from the receptionist that the firm wasn’t hiring. Had Paula not followed up, I would never have shared the bad news. But rather than letting the matter drop, Paula decided to hold the accounting firm accountable for its seemingly wishy-washy actions. Of course, the audit partner didn’t know the receptionist was screening job candidates on her own.
After the fog cleared, I had my first accounting job, a gift from this girl who refused to give up on me when I had given up on myself. And while I know I thanked her, she can’t know what her one intervening action did for my life because I didn’t know to tell her. It was only much later that I realized what she had done, and by then, our paths had already parted.
There are many fog lifting experiences like this in my life. And I imagine we all have experienced them, if we but take the time to remember them. We are beneficiaries of people who take an unexplained interest in us.
These life-givers are the George Bailey’s in our everyday lives that teach us it’s a wonderful life indeed. Of course the fog keeps them from seeing their own greatness. But I’d like to think that, just like George Bailey, they get that occasional glimpse through an angelic message of glad tidings.
Remember no man is a failure who has friends.
Thanks for the wings!