In the waning hours of Mother’s Day, I was sprawled on our couch watching Forrest Gump with our teen daughters and the dog.
An entire generation has passed since the last time I saw this 1994 movie. I don’t know if it’s middle age or concern with the fact my daughters will soon be facing the big decisions of early adulthood, but I was struck by how similar my life philosophy is to the title character, a man with an IQ of 75.
It’s true. I wouldn’t know a strategy if one bit me.
This was the case when I was a student. I floated happily along — rarely even aware of deadlines or demands yet somehow meeting them.
This was the case during my most intense years as a journalist — even when I was covering a state Legislature. Many of the stories I got that other writers did not had less to do with my reporting skills than the fact I thought the back stairways of the Capitol Building were great fun to explore. It’s amazing what you can find out when you intercept senators who are sneaking junk food up to their offices.
Don’t even get me started on parenting or the writing of books. How any of it works is a mystery. Then, now — just as it was with Gump — things just kind of happen to me and around me and I move with them.
Sometimes it’s really good things. A brief encounter that leads to a marriage, career breaks, bizarre free stuff, unlikely mentors, someone else’s odd need or idea that turns into an opportunity to do something that had never even crossed my mind.
On the flip side, I also tend to be there to, say, witness muggings up close enough to be able to testify in court. Or to get a concussion from a car accident so minor the damage could have been covered with a Band-Aid … and the concussion recovery time prompting me to start blogging and self-publish my first book and so on.
At times, my serendipity-prone life concerns me (and my husband, who was born with a need for data). Decades of life already complete, it seems like I should have it more together than I do. And, what about my daughters? Is there anything about my floaty way of thinking that will serve them well?
That is why Forrest Gump was such a comfort, on a Mother’s Day especially. Throughout the movie, it was clear there was more than parental love in play in this story. God was just Romans 8:28 all over the guy. Not because Gump was smart or together or had a plan of any sort — but because God is good and Gump was consistently and diligently available to be a vehicle of that goodness.
Available for God’s goodness.
I may be clueless — and I am — but I can be that. My daughters can be that. Anybody can be that — even in a time of murder hornets, COVID-19, political mayhem, economic depression, emotional depression and rolling disasters.
It’s true. God is not depending on me having it together. He is not depending on you having it together, either. He has it together. And, no matter what chocolate comes out of the box next, that will be enough.