PHILADELPHIA---Last night Susan and I had our tickets to the Phillies game. We wore our caps. We had a big bag of peanuts. Each of us could say, in the words of "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley, "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul."
Not exactly. Man proposes, God disposes. It rained and rained. No ballgame, so nine WORLD readers joined us in a big hotel lounge area, munching on peanuts and quaffing soft drinks as televisions in the distance showed the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs, with cheers periodically arising from Flyers and Blackhawks fans.
I'm almost always impressed with the thoughtfulness of WORLD readers, and last night was no exception. In our little circle were a biochemist, a hospital administrator, an engineer, a federal block grant monitor and others involved in their communities and their churches. I'll probably write more about these folks later on, but for now I'll mention one of them who's followed her dream, one who had a better dream, and one who had to change his dream.
The biochemist, Heather Collins, runs a lab that performs measurements for scientists who focus on research related to diabetes. She said she had wanted to be a scientist since the sixth grade: "I always figured my confirmation of this was receiving a scholarship to get my Ph.D. at Penn as I and my parents did not have the means to pay for graduate school, let alone an Ivy one." She enjoys her calling, which has its weird moments. (A zoo wanted advice on a diabetic anteater.)
The hospital administrator, Joe Cerone, was a casino industry accountant in Atlantic City until he came to Christ 25 years ago. He realized the need to change careers so he went back to school and grew a management career that has him at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for the past two decades.
The engineer, Reed Gibson, has a degree in art and environmental design. He wanted to imagine and design new toys, but "had a knack for mechanical engineering. Companies tended to value the engineers more than the idea guys, so I stuck with it." He left that profession to become a church's fulltime youth director, but "four years ago I went back to engineering when I realized I needed to make sure that I took care of my family."
Too bad? Maybe not. Reed's son O.J., 18, was part of our group last night. He's a pitcher (loving baseball since he was 4 years old) and a would-be historian who is alive with ideas. It's great for a dad to make it possible for a son to dream.
That's all for now. We forgot to take a photo of the whole group, and will try to do better. But instead, above is a picture Susan took of the Liberty Bell. If you know the "Where's Waldo?" children's books, you might look for a Marvin.