I can look back on times in my life in which something did not happen as I had planned; but with a little perspective and time, I could say that it turned out better. The job that got away, the school I applied to, the house we put an offer on, the race I wanted to do. Things that were disappointing at the time often have proven, with time, to work out in a way that I had not planned but turned out better than I had expected. In fact, in the last few years so many things have happened that are out of my control or beyond what I could have planned that I take comfort in disappointments and changes in my life by simply saying, “It will work out.”
Recently, I have noticed that when I believe that things have worked out, I think about how they affected me. In other words, I rarely think to myself, “Wow I was randomly inconvenienced/frustrated and now I’m so glad that happened even though it didn’t help me at all.”
No, it seems that I only think it “worked out” when it benefited me.
This past fall it was determined that my youngest son and I both needed surgery. I chose to schedule his surgery a week before mine in the cold month of February. We could both recover together and be ready to go by the time the snow melted.
The day of his surgery went according to my careful planning… until we were sent home a few hours later. Because February is often flu season, there was not a free bed to be found. As a result, my surgery came first, and a week later he had his. It was a bit more challenging as I was in a boot and could not drive or get around very easily. From my perspective, this was not ideal.
Our oldest son signed up for the Navy in January. He was told that his ship-out date would be in May. We bought him an old car to get around town, made plans to spend lots of quality time together for the next five months, and even discussed having a party for him when the weather got nice before he headed off to boot camp. And then, he had the opportunity to leave early. And just like that, he was off on his newest adventure.
We are starting to see the end of the continuous trail of paperwork in adopting our new daughter. As things sit now, we hope to get approval for travel in May. There is much that goes into the logistics and planning of a two-week adoption trip to China. With many moving parts and family members, things need to be in order.
And yet, none of it is in order. Like many families, May is our busiest month. My oldest will graduate from boot camp (because he left early), we have a piano recital, dance recital, orchestra performances, soccer, and end of school year events. There is an 8th grade graduation for one kid and the beginning of summer swim for everyone. Where exactly, do I fit in two weeks of travel to China?
I was in the shower with these thoughts swirling around in my head. Once again, I was asking myself for the millionth time how we will fit it all in when it hit me:
Maybe… things will work out but they will not work out for me. Maybe, because each of my kids are individual human beings, some things work out for THEM and not always for me or my (or the family’s) benefit. Maybe my youngest needed to have his surgery when he did rather than the original day when the hospital was full of illness. Maybe my oldest will meet some amazing people in boot camp that will literally change his life that he wouldn’t have met had he gone when he was supposed to go. Maybe I need to go to China to meet our girl at a time that is right for her more than when it is right for me.
When I had this realization I literally laughed out loud. Of course, it’s not all about me!
Things work out. They always do.
But maybe this time, they won’t work out for me. Maybe my trip to China will be at the most inopportune time for our family or for me. Because it isn’t all about me. It’s about all of the other human beings in my family and what is best for them as well.
The only way to know for sure is time and perspective. And maybe a little bit of patience too. I need all that I can get.