One of my favorite jokes is about the guy who is stranded in his house and the floodwaters are rising threatening his life. He prays to his Maker and asks on the first floor, begs on the second floor and eventually screams from the rooftop to just save him – “send a helicopter, send a speedboat, just save me!” Of course, he does not get what he asks for and succumbs to the inevitable. When he gets to the “Pearly Gates” he is upset and wants to speak to the person in charge. He comes face-to-face with his Maker and begins to question whether or not any of his prayers were even heard. After listening and discovering that in fact his prayers were heard, he wants to know why they were not answered. He is then informed that his prayer was answered when a rowboat went past him three times and he refused to get in because he was waiting for a speedboat or helicopter.
Today I had my own ah-ha moment when I thought about that joke. You see, I was not a very motivated student in high school at all; although I did better than average, I had a passive almost “don’t care” attitude. My guidance counselor most likely tuned into that and suggested that I never go to college and would be better off going to work for the airlines. Not that I had anything against the airlines, but I just did not see myself wanting to work there. Instead, I made it my own personal quest to prove him wrong. I would go onto college and end up graduating five times before it was all over, capping the last of my educational experiences with a doctoral degree. As I thought about that today, I realized that the guidance counselor had in fact done his job with me and guided me to a place I would find great joy and life satisfaction. He in fact became my rowboat and I am now thankful that I was able to hear the “right voice” when it was most needed. Instead of seeing him as a naysayer, the perspective shift allowed me to transform him into being a champion for me.
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My challenge for you today is to rethink an experience in your life where by giving into or finding another perspective helps open a different way for you to begin relating and/or making a new meaning that can have positive life altering consequences. Think about all the “voices” you listen to or have listened to in the past and wonder if there just might be another message that you heard that moved you. Or, perhaps, is there a voice waiting for you to hear today?