Finding a purpose in life

Posted on November 11, 2012 at 12:01 am

Current issues

Follow Gramps:

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Print Friendly

Dear Gramps,

I graduated from college a while ago, and I’m having a lot of trouble trying to figure out what to do next.  The job I have now is enough to pay the bills, but It isn’t what I want to do forever. Every time I apply for a position I’m really interested in I fall just short of being accepted. Some of my friends and family have suggested that I wait, but I’m beginning to lose hope that I’ll ever find out what it is I want to do, or that the Lord has any sort of purpose for me.  Do you have any advice?

Hopeless in Utah

____________

Hopeless in Utah

I am reminded of a short story I heard on the radio some years ago. Please let me share it with you, then I’ll talk myself.

Better Late Than Never

He is lying there in the grass, hiding and thinking. He has studied the little girl’s habits. He knew she would come outside her grandfather’s house mid-afternoon to play.

He hated himself for this.

In his whole, miserable, messed-up life he’d never considered anything so callous as kidnapping. Yet there he was, lying in the grass, hidden by trees from the house, waiting for an innocent, red haired, two-year-old girl to come within reach.

It was a long wait. There was time to think.

Maybe all his life Harlan had been in too much of a hurry. He was five when his Hoosier farmer daddy had died. At fourteen he dropped out of Greenwood School and hit the road. He tried odd jobs as a farm hand, hated it. Tried being a streetcar conductor and hated that. At sixteen he lied about his age and joined the Army…and hated that too. When his one-year enlistment was up, he headed for Alabama and tried blacksmithing and failed.

He became a railroad locomotive fireman with the Southern Railroad. He liked that. Figured maybe he had found himself. At eighteen he got married, and within months, wouldn’t you know she announced she was pregnant the day he announced he’d been fired again?

Then one day , while he was out job hunting, his young wife gave away all their posessions and went home to her parents.

Then came the Depression.

Harlan couldn’t win for losing, as they say. He really tried.

Once, while working at a succession of railroad jobs, he tried studying law by correspondence. He dropped out of that, too. He tried selling insurance, selling tires. He tried running a ferryboat, running a filling station. No use.

Face it, Harlan was a loser.

And now here he was hiding in the weeds outside Roanoke, Virginia, plotting a kidnapping. As I say, he’d watched the little girl’s habits, knew about her afternoon playtime. But this one day, she did not come out to play, so his chain of failures remained unbroken.

Late in life he became chief cook and bottle washer at a restaraunt in Corbin. And did all right until the new highway bypassed the restaraunt. And then his expected life span ran out.

He’s not the first man nor will he be the last to arrive at the twilight of life with nothing to show for it.

The bluebird of happiness, or whatever, had always fluttered just out of reach.

He’d stayed honest, except for that one time when he had attempted kidnapping. In fairness to his name it must be noted that it was his own daughter he’d meant to kidnap from his runaway wife. And they both returned to him, the next day, anyway.

But now the years had slid by and a lifetime was gone and he and they had nothing.

He had not really felt old until that day the postman brought his first Social Security check. That day, something within Harlan resented, resisted, and exploded.

The Government was feeling sorry for him.

You had all those hitless times at bat, the Government was saying, you’ve had it. It’s time to give up and retire.

His restaraunt customers in Corbin said they’d miss him, but his Government said sixty-five candles on the birthday cake was enough. They sent him a pension check and told him he was “old”.

He said “Nuts.”

And he got so angry he took that $105 check and started a new business.

21 years later, that business was prospering and at age eighty-three, so was he.

Colonel SandersFor the man who failed at everything save one thing…the man who might have been a law-breaking kidnapper had he not also failed at that…the man who never got started until it was time to stop…was Harlan Sanders. Colonel Harlan Sanders.

The new business he started with his first Social Security check was Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now you know the rest of the story.

Okay, of course that story was first told by Paul Harvey Jr., the radio icon. From the day I heard it to today, where I have it in a book of his, I have never simply let failure ruin my day.

What I want you to take from this story is the understanding of patience as a gift. Other gifts clearly join in, such as persistence and self-worth. You’ve had trials regarding your career, and they won’t be easily overcome. However, they’ll never be overcome if you give up. If you haven’t already, read Alma 34:18-27 for encouragement and guidance.

Heavenly Father knows what you are going through and in his wisdom, he will guide you exactly where you need to go as you exercise faith in him. It is not so important what we do for a living as much as it is important how we do it, and how we live according to the Gospel of Christ in the process. Trust in Christ and he will guide you true.

Gramps

 

Summary
Article Name
Finding a purpose in life - Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine
Author
Description
I graduated from college a while ago, and I'm having a lot of trouble trying to figure out what to do next. The job I have now is enough to pay the bills, but It isn't what I want to do forever.

Follow Gramps:

Is God both our Father and Mother in Heaven?

November 20, 2014 8:09 am

Question Gramps, Forgive me for this question. I have many speculate that our Father in Heaven is our Mother in Heaven too. Can you please clarify this for (more)

What are the third set of scriptures spoken of by Elder Neal A. Maxwell?

November 19, 2014 7:49 am

Question Gramps, What are we to understand from these words spoken by Elder Maxwell in his talk “God Will Yet Reveal” when he said, “We would not even (more)

Will we still have our tattoos when we are resurrected?

November 18, 2014 7:31 am

Question Gramps, My brother is a tattoo artist. He does it for a living. My mom doesn’t like it though and therefore approaches him constantly about it. My (more)

Does the Church not want thinkers?

November 17, 2014 8:17 am

Question Dear Gramps, I joined the church in 98, raised Evangelical, so Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal,  I feel like when I question something the answer is always the same (more)

I’m too ashamed to talk to my Bishop, but how can I stop my skinpicking?

November 12, 2014 5:00 am

Question Dear Gramps, I have been struggling with skinpicking (Dermatillomania) since 10 years. I feel so horrible about my picking that I have really low self-esteem. I know (more)

Is saying “Oh my Lord” using His name in vain?

November 11, 2014 1:03 am

Question Gramps, Does saying “good Lord’ or “Oh my Lord” count as using the Lord’s name in vain? Marie   Answer Marie, I believe it does. I avoid (more)

Did the Nephites and Lamanites have access to the gold plates?

November 8, 2014 5:48 am

Question Gramps, Is it true that the Nephites and Lamanites did not have access to the writings on the gold plates? The writings of their prophets?  It is (more)

Will we, as Saints, ever have to flee to avoid being destroyed?

November 7, 2014 8:14 am

Question Hi Gramps, Since we live in the last days and there are alot of troubling things going on, I’ve noticed a pattern in the scriptures, Whenever things get (more)

What is the Mormon Church’ stance on the Mark of Cain?

November 6, 2014 1:49 am

Question Gramps, I’ve been told several times that the dark skinned people are descendants of Adam’s son, Cain.  Thus the ‘Mark of Cain’.  Moreover, in the Book of (more)

Why doesn’t the Mormon Church keep the Jewish Feast Days?

November 5, 2014 5:24 am

Question Dear Gramps, Why doesn’t the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints keep the Jewish feast days? The Apostle Paul stated in Acts 18:21 that he had to keep the (more)

How can I generate desire in my calling?

November 4, 2014 1:44 am

Question Dearest Gramps, I’ve currently serving in a tough responsibility in the church, and while I know exactly what it’s worth for me, it’s beginning to wear me (more)

Is the “Spirit of prophecy” and the “Gift of prophecy” the same thing?

November 3, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, We know the “spirit of prophecy” is the testimony of Jesus.  Is the “gift of prophesy” the same thing as the spirit of prophecy, or is (more)