Sunday, August 19, 2012

Destination Please...

Sitting in the cockpit of the Delta 777 jetliner, you get a really good view of the airport. I was fortunate to be riding in the jump seat in the cockpit on this flight,  and I look over at Capt. Coffee and the First Officer flicking switches, turning dials, setting navigation equipment and going through the final checklist. As we approach the end of the runway, Capt. Coffee calls the tower, "Tower, Delta 25 Heavy,
 ready to go."  Control Tower responds, “Roger Delta 25, you are cleared for takeoff, contact Departure Control at 122.5, Good day.”

WOW, this thing can really climb.  We're about up to initial cruising altitude  Here in the cockpit, the tasks are pretty well buttoned down and the crew relaxes a little, The Captain clicks on the microphone to speak to the passengers. “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. Welcome aboard Delta Flight 25, we have reached our initial cruising altitude and what a glorious day to fly. In a few moments the flight attendants will be passing down the aisle taking your orders for a destination. We have no flight planned destination today, as a matter of fact, not even a flight plan!! We will let you decide where we will go today.

BUT WAIT!!  I must have been daydreaming because I was never on that Delta 25 flight. What was that all about? Then it hit me, as I was falling asleep I had been thinking about what life is all about. How incredible, .... that dream was awakening me to how we often live our lives like the Delta 25 flight, no flight plan, no destination, no direction, wandering aimlessly, living our lives wherever the winds of chance and change may blow us.

I guess maybe a lot of people have everything pretty well locked down on where they’re going and how they hope to end up in this human experience. But I must confess that a lot of times in the past I have wondered just where in the world I was going. Until, that is, one day some years ago when I did develop a plan, a destination, a place where I hoped to "land" eventually.

No, my destination was not a career goal, a geographic location, a desire to be rich, or to be famous. It was none of these. My goal, my destination was to try to become the TYPE of person I wanted to be. To try to express daily those qualities of thought and action which had been the admirable traits of my heroes, qualities  have always been the REAL me, qualities I have from Creation as God's child.   Often hard to accomplish but the "trying" gives us a lifetime of employment!! Like an asymptotic curve, you never really seem to reach the goal, but you can come close!!   

Favoring qualities of thought are not always an acceptable alternative to concrete physical goals in business life, apparently. For example, at a time when I was unemployed and seriously in need of a position, the position for which I applied was very appealing since I would be able to use my years of data processing and sales experience to become a computer sales representative for this well known computer manufacturing company. The interview was going really well until the interviewer started pressing me repeatedly on what my goals were. He wanted to know if I wanted to be president of the company or saw myself as a CEO, a marketing type or just where I wanted to end up. I told him that I didn’t know specifically what position I aspired to but that my real goal was to become the TYPE of person that I wanted to be, to express qualities such as honesty, integrity, hard work, intelligence, kindness and dedication, and to let those qualities take me to the position for which I was best suited. Well, the interview ended quickly and I quickly got another view of the parking lot as I was ushered out.

What does all this have to do with anything you may ask. Well it is a call to action, a continuing call for me, to reaffirm my dedication to demonstrating those qualities which I admire. History is full of such examples of how famous people are most remembered by the qualities they demonstrated. George Washington is remembered for his honesty, Mother Theresa for her kindness and caring, General Dwight Eisenhower is remembered for his humility, resolve and courage, Harry Truman for being a tough and determined man of good faith.

Now all these people of course had families, careers and day-to-day lives but history remembers most those qualities of thought that they held and expressed.    And, of course,  there was Jesus, of Nazareth, a young man who lived many years ago,  poor and unemployed, sometimes scorned, who, by expressing qualities of love, meekness, tenderness and courage,  set the example of how to think, act and live that remains a "light on a hill" to this day.  And many of us are inspired by the simple qualities that our pets express, love, faithfulness, forgiveness.  (OK, talking dogs here, not cats!!!)

How did all of this work out for me? Well, I probably could have made more money and could have had loftier positions, and even though I am still working hard to get closer to my goal, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the Bible verses from Micah 6:8, as translated in The Message translation:

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously—  take God seriously.

Life is wonderful!!!


Amy Carnes Hoey said...

Yet another wonderful read! And I totally understand!! And like you - I finally decided years ago (when I've not known which direction my life is going to go) to just try to make God happy that He made me. So I work on myself and my traits and do rescue and and give from my heart - trying to do what Jesus would want me to do. I try to tell people about prayer - not near often enough but I have tried several times. Thank you for sharing this, Pat - and I think you are definitely already the kind of person you have been trying to be- even more than you know. :0) Love from your Ohio family!

TCWCAC said...

Love your way of making important things in life seem so easy to grasp. Putting them into effect, is the work of a lifetime, of course -- but thanks for helping us find ways to keep on task. Great reminder that the goal is bigger than money, job, or anything to do with human selves, but to be what we were created to be. Thanks for sharing!

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