Some conference calls need video. A recent one where I was on one side and three others were on the other is a good example. We have never met. We have no idea of our backgrounds. There is no shared history, conversation, or known experiences. We do not even know if our stories overlap. We are strangers. Circumstances have brought us together; we are having a conversation to see if I can help them.
As we talked about their project, the missing pieces were obvious to me. As I asked questions and made a suggestion or two, I could see that they had no idea where I was coming from. To them, I was an ageless new kid on the block. While I am sure they believed I was over twenty-one, I doubt they had any idea of my age, miles, or journey. To them, I was a strange voice interrupting their story.
They were confident. They knew they had everything lined up as it should be. If I had to summarize where they seemed to be coming from, it would have gone as follows. “They live (they think) a charmed life: ‘We can’t go wrong. This is our lucky year!’” (Psalm 10.6) They live, they think, and they are clueless.
It is hard to be so blunt given their enthusiasm. The challenge is that there is little reason to be optimistic. There are too many missing pieces in their approach. There are critical connections that have yet to be made. I wanted to be blunt even as I realized I was listening to an echo of myself when I was young. I was so sure. I was so confident. I knew what I knew; ignorant of what I had yet to learn.
I remembered several that had taken me under their wing. I look back in awe – amazed at their willingness to be patient. They taught me with kindness. They worked with me until I could take a step. They picked me up when I fell. They did what I now need to do.