12 December 2008

Today I Saw The Future - Sort Of - I Think

When I first started my career I worked at a place I'll call Company X. I was just a kid and thrown into this big, sophisticated place and expected to work alongside some pretty seasoned senior executives sometimes. Sink or swim. Fortunately, I ended up having a great experience although I always felt outclassed by the age and expertise of just about everybody I worked with. It's been a few years since I left but I still keep in touch with a handful of friends I made there. Company X has since been acquired by someone else and virtually everyone I knew there has left. The business world is like that. No surprise.

Today I attended a lunch for Company X alumni. I still felt like the inexperienced kid as I sat near the end of a long table and watched several dozen of my former work colleagues get together, visit, and reminisce. Most had gone on to other places, continuing successful careers. A few had reached retirement age. There was more gray hair in the room than I remembered from years ago, and less hair overall on most heads. These people were still my seniors and superiors in every way.

Sitting at the table, I was struck by something. The last time we were together, we were all surrounded and enveloped by the hard-grinding, high-pressure, stress-filled atmosphere created by the relentless pursuit of profit and company business. Our noses were all to the grindstone, our schedules packed with meetings and projects and metrics and goals and measurements and reviews and meeting the numbers (gee, sounds like life as an active Mormon, doesn't it). Days were long and performance expectations high.

This time, there was none of that. Everyone was there because they wanted to be, because they cared about the others, because they valued the friendships and wanted them to continue. The atmosphere was one of caring and contentment, of missions accomplished, of affection and relaxation after all the battles were over.

So as I watched all these reunions, I couldn't help thinking ahead to, say, 100 years from now, when I and all my blogging brothers will have moved on to the next place. After the hard-grinding, high-pressure, stress-filled adventure of mortal life and the relentless pursuit of—well, whatever we pursue here—is over. I envisioned all of us gathering together someplace, having somehow weathered all the storms and strife of life, meeting for the sheer joy of reunion and cameraderie. To talk about old times, old struggles, old questions, to simply savor the happiness of being together, of affection and relaxation after all the battles are over.

I don't have anything close to the answers I want from the gospel or the Church about a lot of pretty serious questions. I don't think the Church itself knows the answers to some of them. The road that lies between us and that far future reunion I imagined today is going to be very rocky sometimes, and some battles are really tough for all of us. I don't how how we're going to get there, or what shape we'll be in when we arrive. I think there's a pretty tough slog ahead. It's tough to have a testimony of the gospel taught by a church that denies you the hope it extends to most other members and can't explain how you should expect to achieve the same eternal blessings they look for. Talk about a rock and a hard place. Tough, very tough.

But all the same, today's reunions were warm and sweet and peaceful and somehow gave me hope that the Father of us all will indeed give us the righteous desires of our hearts sometime, somewhere. I wish I knew how, or when. I wish I knew what He knows about why he made so many of us the way He did. But I do have faith that at some future time, the battles will be over, we'll know what we need to know, and everything will be worked out. Today I had a little glimpse of how that might feel. It was really wonderful. So to all my blogosphere brethren, I am glad and honored to be here with you, to be part of this big “family,” and I hope that what I saw today really is a foretaste of some wonderful, peaceful, joyful future gathering for all of us when the missions are finally accomplished.

1 comment:

Bravone said...

Alan, I love the analogy. It truly brings me peace to envision our future gathering. I will be thinking about this the rest of the day I am sure. Thank you.