Doors and windows and …

When I wrote the other day about Anxiety and progress, I had no idea it would resonate with so many people. I was just writing out of my own experience and about some of the things I can see now, looking back with the benefit of clarity that hindsight almost always brings.

The other thing I didn’t anticipate was my own reaction to that walk down memory lane. You see, I’m tempted to think back with regret about those missed doors of opportunity; but in fact the more I think about it, the more I realize that all of my life’s experiences have led me to the place I am today and that not one moment of that time has been wasted by God has he has shaped my life and guided my path.

So, I don’t feel regret as I look back. I feel grateful. So many friends, and even a few strangers, have been kind and gracious to me that I can’t begin to count them all. And each one of those moments of graciousness and generosity has helped me, shaped me, moved me forward.

There are even a few examples where someone thought they weren’t doing me any kindness, yet, that’s how it turned out. Being fired one Friday afternoon in December 1979 led indirectly to my start in voiceover. A summer lunch a couple of years later that I missed out on because I was on the air led directly to my start in voiceover. Being replaced as the host of a national Christian music countdown show in February of 1996 turned out to be one of the keys that led eventually to my working full-time exclusively in voiceover. Another step on that path took place when I was passed over for a promotion in 2003.

You see, kindness is sometimes not in the specific thing that was done or not done, it’s in what you make of the thing. I look at each of those moments I’ve just mentioned and I see how valuable that specific experience turned out to be. In each case, I didn’t feel good about the situation as it was happening, but at the same time I also never lost faith that I was making progress.

The explicit kindnesses far outnumber of hidden kindnesses, but intended or not, each one was important for its own reason. I imagine you can see the same kinds of things in your life. I’d love to hear about your journey. Comments are open.


  1. Your story speaks of your having inertia and drive. My FB mini-novella describes fairly well that I believe that it’s not the accident/event, but the response that matters most. Forward motion prevents lingering upon the past, builds better tomorrows.
    In the ’80’s and 90’s it wasn’t as valued a concept by myself as it is now,it was just a way not to clutter my head/emotions … a farm-learned common sense that applied elsewhere.
    Today it is a thing that the too-quick successes of the eighties and nineties can grow from hearing if their cicrumstance has been upended.

    There really is a tomorrow, and today is always at the start edge of it.

    But you have to want it, to make the potential and help let it become.

    Comment by Frank Baum — June 27, 2010 @ 5:59 am

  2. The truth is that God arranges things for us so that the hidden kindnesses far outnumber the ones that are explicit. We, because of our limited perspectives, are unable to connect all the dots that have brought us to the place where we presently stand. Knowing that the steps are not just random, but form an actual path is, as you point out, half the battle. Refer to Robert Frost’s, “The Road Not Taken” for further edification, and thanks for brightening my own stretch of hiway at this juncture of time and space!

    Comment by Reuven Miller — June 27, 2010 @ 6:30 am

  3. while i’ve no doubt i would eventually being doing what i’m doing the way i’m doing it, there is also little doubt that if my “safe” radio production manager job had not evaporated out from under me back in the early nineties, i would not have attempted such an “impossible” task as a freelance career by choice.

    sometimes ya just get pushed into the pool.


    Comment by rowell gormon — June 27, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

  4. If someone is so broken that they cannot be kind to our Bob Souer, something is deeply wrong with them and I want their phone number. šŸ˜›
    Friends and even a few strangers are gracious to you because we cannot NOT be…it’s a natural reaction to the light that you are and how much love you give. Those of us who get to hang in your orbit, we are the lucky ones.

    Comment by Nancy Wolfson — June 27, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

  5. I have a similar story, Bob. My crazy journey has been a veritable Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! But I agree with everything you’ve said. All those things that I’m tempted to regret or resent have all led to right here, right now.

    I’ve never been happier in my life, I’ve never had a job so fulfilling, and I’ve never before been surrounded by so many people I enjoy and treasure.

    So, thank you, my friend, for reminding me to stay grateful and keep looking forward.

    Comment by Amy Snively — June 28, 2010 @ 12:58 am

  6. Bob, you are a treasure for this community. As Reuven said, it is tough, if not impossible, to see the whole plan when you’re mired in the middle of it. Somewhere, down the road, things become clearer. Duruing these times of revelation, it’s hard for me not to crack a little smile and say to my self, “so that’s what that was all about.” And each time it happens, there is a little more comfort in the fact that God’s really got it together. It takes trust … complete trust in the grace of a risen savior that made the map for our lives and charted the course long ago. Your essay brought that all back for me this afternoon Bob. I’m on the verge of a life changing decision myself. My wife of 24 years, Debi, passed away 8 years ago this September. It’s been impossible to describe the fog, confusion and down right stupidity that has anchored me to a position that is no longer where I want to be moored. With the help of people like Bob, who drop these pearls of wisdom at exactly the right moment. Debi always encouraged me to find something I really like … and do it. I too feel I have not wasted my time in the various jobs and responsibilities I’ve held for the past 30+ years. Each one contributes to the next … and so on. I am experiencing such a strong pull to full-time voice work. At first I tossed it off as a dream. Eventually the dream took hold … strong.Sometime soon, it will happen. Thanks for sharing these words of inspiration with us Bob. You’re a good, good, man.

    Comment by Ed Hunter — June 28, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  7. Ed,

    It was 22 years for me this past January. The fog of which you speak is familiar and still lingers a bit here and there. Thank you for your very kind comments. Let me know if you’d ever like to just talk for a while.

    Be well,

    Comment by Bob — June 29, 2010 @ 12:27 am

  8. Thanks for your generous offer, Bob. I’ll take you up on it. And please excuse the typos in my post. I continue to prove that while the iPhone is a marvel of technology and convenience, it falls a little short when writing longer pieces. 8-}

    Comment by Ed Hunter — June 29, 2010 @ 5:06 am

  9. Ed,

    No worries. Would you like me to edit your comments and remove the typos? (I have the power, it’s my blog after all.)

    Be well,

    Comment by Bob — June 29, 2010 @ 9:02 am

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