Even when things don’t happen according to our plans, every experience, disappointment and setback has something to teach us. The trick is to recognize, accept, and apply that lesson.
Today was a parade of tragedies, albeit a rather hilarious one in retrospect. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. After procrastinating for several days, I had almost completed a particular task, only to be stopped cold in my tracks by my ink-deprived printer. Still hopeful, I remembered my next-door neighbor who resides with a house full of teenagers obsessed with the internet, school projects and computer games. When I called to ask if her printer worked, she replied, “No. I went to work today just to print something out.” Apparently, a sense of obligation and a paycheck are no longer adequate motivators. But, I digress. Thinking myself ingenious and never one to admit defeat, I decided to carry my flash drive to a Kinko’s or one of those neighborhood establishments that serve as a travel agency/driving school/notary public/Western Union/overseas calling center/nail, hair and threading salon/print, copy and fax center, and print the product of my hard work. However, during a final check to ensure that all the necessary documents were saved in the appropriate location, I discovered that one of them was nowhere to be found. Not on my flash drive, my hard drive, or in any of my email accounts. This document had bypassed the electronic purgatory of the Recycle Bin, and vanished into an abyss of binary numbers, circuits and thin air. It was as if this document had never existed. My search was useless. It was official. My last two hours of effort had disappeared down the same magical drain as my document had, and I was defeated.
In the midst of my technical difficulties, I decided to take granny to the emergency room, the reason for which deserves its own blog post. (However, granny is back home and doing better.) Still reeling from the realization that, despite my best efforts, an important task would be left undone, I rushed to gather items to put in granny’s hospital bag – insurance information, medication, discharge papers from her recent hospitalization, and enough snacks to last granny an entire week. In my rush to close my bedroom door, I did what is even ridiculous by my clumsy, walking into walls, poles and glass doors, and tripping over nothing while walking down the street self: I crashed face-first into the door jamb. And then I saw a flash of white light. After screaming a few obscenities and realizing that I was still conscious and would not have to walk down some dark tunnel with a bright light at the end, I thought, This must be what it feels like to get punched in the face. Ouccchhhhhh! Fortunately for my right eye, I was wearing my eyeglasses at the time of impact. Unfortunately for my eyeglasses, they ended up disfigured and thrown across the hallway. With one hand rubbing my throbbing temple, I crawled around on the floor like a blind man, reaching out and grasping for my glasses. Oh, how I envy contact lens wearers and those with perfect vision, I lamented. I suddenly felt small and silly as I envisioned a giant old guy with a white beard and bushy, curly white hair wearing a toga and sitting on a throne (God), and granny’s invisible friends (a traveling posse of cross-dressing Voodoo priests and church congregants wearing granny’s clothes) looking down at my pathetic prostate figure and laughing. All I could manage at the thought was, Damn, damn, damnnnnn! Dear God and Invisible Home Intruders, please excuse my French.
A bent pair of glasses and two Tylenols later, granny, the home attendant and I were off to the emergency room. During the cab ride to the hospital, I reflected upon the day’s events. I had spent my day worrying about and rushing to accomplish something that was determined to go undone. And then it dawned on me. Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be, and Mr. Toga aka God has other plans for me. (Or, perhaps my bad luck and procrastination had caused me to squander an opportunity of a lifetime, and the course of my life would now be irreparably altered and ruined.) The optimistic part of me would much rather believe that everything happens for a reason. That all things have their own predestined timetable, and that they happen as they should, when they should. It’s often hard to determine whether the old adage “nothing worth having comes easily” applies, or whether the universe is trying to tell you something. Sometimes all you need to do is heed the signs and follow the clues. Or, you could just wait for God to knock some sense into you. You know what they say about hard heads . . . .
Character Shug Avery Singing “God Is Trying To Tell You Something” in The Color Purple