I used to be convinced I was going to spend the rest of my life in Venezuela.
I had a number of friends there, I loved the culture, and the gorgeous Venezuelan ladies treated me like a celebrity when I visited during my junior year of college. So when I got back from my visit, I spent an inordinate amount of time talking about my plans for moving. And my poor mother was one of the main victims of my endless diatribes about the new life I thought I wanted.
One afternoon, I was talking to Mom about my plans – actually, I was delivering a monologue about my plans as she patiently listened. But when I finished up, she did something uncharacteristic of her: she gave me advice.
She said, “Joshua, life’s a train ride, and a lot of people think they know where their train is headed. So they obsess over their stop and talk about it during the whole train ride. But when it finally comes time to get off the train, they realize they were actually destined for a different stop the whole time.
“What I’m saying is, stop worrying so much about where you’re headed and instead, just enjoy the person sitting next to you and the view outside the window.”
I was a little too haughty to take much advice back then, but nonetheless, Mom’s words resonated with me and helped me examine my motives for wanting to leave the country. And before the year was over, I was enrolled in law school (in the United States) – an old dream that rose from the ashes when I finally realized that my love affair with Venezuela wasn’t much more than infatuation.
Here’s the thing: my mom’s advice wasn’t good because it helped lead me to law school and to Washington, DC, where I would eventually meet my lovely wife.
It was good because it helped pull me out of the future – a fantasy that didn’t exist.
And it was good because it helped me see the value of the present, which is the only space where God meets us and leads us into His plans for us right now.