Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How To Live The Dream

I keep asking my wife to pinch me-- if this is a dream, I don't want to wake up.  My life is already the ultimate fairy tale story and the final chapters are still yet to be written.  I am a blessed man.  Today is my birthday.  I have two days off in a row to be with my family.  Life is good.  For those of you who are wondering why I departed California and headed into the great unknown, permit me to share my story...

On this day, fifty-two years ago, my grandfather, Dr. VA Mulligan, delivered me to my awesome parents.  I'm the oldest of six children.  Each sibling has an amazing story, however, I promised them and others close to me I will never share anything personal here to protect privacy.  Each sibling has been a pillar in my life.

My teenage years were filled with questions.  Like most people, I wanted answers.  My spiritual immaturity blinded me to God's plans for me and I set out to live my life according to my own dreams.  I experienced many peaks and valleys.  Then, one day the light bulb went off.  I discovered God had a different plan for me.  I decided to follow the plan.

So, here I am in the heartland of America, living five miles from my wife's birthplace.  All three of my children are with my wife and me and soon they will depart to write their own stories.  What a joy it is to be with them.  My job is to teach them about God's love for them.  Like me, they will need to go on their own journey.  If they understand how much God truly loves them, the path to Him will be less difficult.

I believe the lowest point of my life was the time my daughter called from the airport just before her first solo plane ride.  She just completed her first year of college in California and was eager to be reunited with us.  I deposited my last dollar in her account so she could cover her bag fees.  Since all the scales in her dorm were packed up, she guessed on the weight of her bags.  The  eight pound miscalculation led to a $100 penalty on top of the $60 charge for her two bags.  She was in tears when she called to notify me her account was over the limit.  You can read more about it by clicking here.

The Reader's Digest version is I needed to drive over one hundred miles to the nearest bank branch in Illinois to replenish my daughter's overdrawn account.  I called the airlines to complain and they refused to budge despite their poor guidance and ugly customer service.  My daughter stood helpless at the ticket counter while the agent chastised her for her miscalculation.  They didn't give her the opportunity to remove the excess eight pounds from her suitcase and discard it or move it to the second bag because they were understaffed and rushing customers through the process.  It was this eight pound lemon from God that routed me by the new Costco.  I stopped in after helping my daughter and found out they needed marketers to help introduce the warehouse to Coralville, Iowa.  The timing couldn't have been better.  My future boss was scheduled to arrive that evening and I was one of his first interviews.

I was fortunate to be in the first group of fifty hired.  My new job mirrored many jobs I held in the publishing world and I loved every minute of it.  One day at the end of my shift, my boss asked me to meet him on the floor where some patio furniture was on display.  One of our top bosses was already seated when I entered the gazebo.  We chatted about how things were going.  Her next words stunned me.  She said, "Michael, we would like you to be our new membership supervisor."  It was the greatest compliment she could give me.  At that moment I realized God was turning all my lemons into lemonade.

We are breaking all kinds of records at my new job and we are on pace to be the all-time leader for new store openings out of more than 600 world-wide warehouses.  Before I left work yesterday, my boss told me we had 8,000 new members.  This is amazing because we just opened on June 27th.  At the VIP party, I shook hands with the original founder of Costco and his new CEO who is following in Jim's footsteps.  The community in Iowa loves having a new Costco and I love serving them.  Our goal is to reach 10,000 new members by Sunday night.  My life is a fairy tale.  I love my life.  I'm living happily ever after.  Anyone can live the dream.  Here's how:

Trust God.  Let Him be in charge of your life.  Don't fret when things don't make sense.  He doesn't expect you to figure out how the puzzle pieces fit together.  Just believe that everything will eventually make sense.  It may not happen until you reach Heaven.  That's okay.  Just thank God for all the lemons in your life and learn how to make lemonade.  That's how you live the dream you were created to live.  God bless you.

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