“I think I may quit this truck driving thing and start doing a stand-up comic/piano player act.” The gentleman, whom I would describe as a senior citizen (anyone over ten years older than I) spoke the words in all seriousness as we talked in the store today. I thought the statement might be part of his act and said, “Well, we’ll have to raise the piano keyboard first, or it will be a sit-down comic act,” but he wasn’t joking. Just in the last three months, he’s put 30,000 miles in for the trucking company he’s now quitting, and he’s tired of that gig. He loves music and is quick with the jokes, so he thinks he’s got a chance. I say more power to him.
I have nothing but admiration for people who are willing to make a new start, take a gamble, and do what they have always wanted to do. My own father left the Navy at 30 years old, not because he wanted to, but with an honorable discharge for health reasons (there’s a story there I may tell someday). He went to work for the Post Office, working his way up through the ranks, only to leave that job at age 45, having to take a disability retirement because of contaminants there which nearly killed him. Many men would have been happy to draw their pensions, golfing and fishing their way through their declining years, but Dad saw an opportunity to do what he had always had a burning desire to do and took it. He applied to his church leaders for ordination as a pastor and started preaching full time. Thirty-five years later, at 80 years of age, he’s still preaching full-time and will, if he has his way, almost certainly continue until he dies.
Adaptability. What a great gift to have in your life. The capacity to turn on a dime, exchanging one set of skills for another and accomplishing a completely different mission than the one you started with. I’m not sure that I’m gifted in that way. I’ve never had to do such a U-turn. Oh, sure, I’ve had to seek out alternative methods for accomplishing my tasks. We all do that. Plan A doesn’t work out so we move to Plan B. That’s not the same thing. I’m referring, not to a Y in the highway, but to a dead end, compelling one to find a completely disparate route through life. I say I’m not sure I’m gifted in that way, but I’ve never really had to find out. I’m hoping I never do.
I jokingly say, once in awhile, that I’m still not sure what I’m going to do when I grow up. Some days, I’m really tempted to take a stab at the bum idea, but I like regular meals and the comfort of a bed too much to go after that. In reality, I’m hoping that the Good Lord will just let me keep doing what I’m doing, making small adjustments to keep things fresh, until the time I can’t do it anymore. No stand-up comedy for me (you’d only groan at my jokes). I’m also pretty sure that I wouldn’t do very well as a pastor. I like to preach, but somehow, I get the idea that pastors work on other days besides Sundays.
“Circumstances are the rulers of the weak, they are but the instruments of the wise.”
(Samuel Lover 1797-1868 Irish Songwriter and novelist)