This past weekend I took a trip for a wedding. Both flights I had were delayed. One was delayed for an entire night. I hate delays because you don’t get a choice, and there is nothing you can do but sit there and wait. You have no power to speed anything up. You just have to wait.
I think life is a series of flight delays. It is full of the unexpected, isn’t it? It’s impossible to plan out everything that will or will not happen. I’ve tried many times to plan my life and make things time out perfectly and they never do.
This has not been the week of dreams for me. In fact it has been quite the opposite. I wasn’t going to talk about this because, to be honest, I am embarrassed, but I feel like I should share it…
I got let go from my company this Tuesday. I didn’t see it coming at all, and it was effective immediately. I went in Tuesday morning excited about the good weather we were having, and I left that same afternoon with a box full of the random belongings from my desk.
Just like that. No warning. It was over. It felt like getting dumped by your girlfriend. This once great blessing in my life that I had waited and prayed so long and so hard for had become a curse. Isn’t it crazy how that happens—how our blessings become our curses? How does that happen?
Maybe you can think of something in your life you wanted so badly and were so excited about at one point, but later it became the thing you were ashamed of, hurt by, or just majorly disappointed in. Maybe it was your trip to Disney World. Maybe it was your husband. Maybe it was your children. Maybe it was you.
I don’t know exactly how blessings can become our enemies, but I know it has to do with time. They say time heals all wounds, but I also think time may be the cause of many wounds. Time wears us out. Time tests us. Time keeps going no matter how hard you try and freeze it. Just like a flight delay, you can’t do anything about it.
You’ve probably heard the “Serenity Prayer” at some point in your life. It goes like this:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
I’m not going to debate it, that’s a great prayer. For me, though, it’s just a little incomplete. My serenity prayer would add on, “And don’t let this ordeal make me bitter… because I really want to be bitter right now.”
When Jesus was on the cross he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I haven’t quite gotten humility of that level down yet. My prayer is more like, “Father, judge them. They know what they did.”
I wish I had some more inspiring words and a can-do attitude that will get you pumped up for whatever trials you may face soon, but I don’t have much to offer right now. I’m fighting through this myself.
Still in the midst of it all, there are great lessons. I firmly believe (even though I don’t always feel it) that God allows us to go through these trials not “just ‘cause.” There’s purpose in it.
While I was sitting in the HR office and listening to the “see ya later” spiel, I felt like I heard God asking me, “How are you going to want to look back on this moment?” Was I going to want to look back and think, “Oh man, I wish I hadn’t yelled at everyone and lit my desk on fire”? Or was I going to want to look back and think, “I didn’t let them take my dignity or integrity.”
You get many chances to react in anger over what may be done to you, but you don’t get as many chances at keeping your integrity intact. People can take a lot of things from you, but don’t let them take your integrity.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
This may not be my most coherent of posts ever, but I’m still kind of whirling myself. I’m processing it. I’m wrestling through thoughts. I’m eating a lot of ice cream. It’s a bummer. But if I’ve learned anything from my past years of going through these sorts of ordeals over and over, it is that the circumstances I’ve hated the most have been what gave me the pieces of myself I like the best. You can’t put a price on experience.
You can’t avoid flight delays, you can only endure them. But time keeps moving forward, and so must we. We keep growing and learning. Our blessings may turn to curses, but I’ve also seen my share of curses turned to blessings.
I’ll end this post with a text I sent my friend Brandon on Tuesday:
“You just always want to leave on your own terms, you know? But oh well. Life doesn’t play by the rules. That’s why it’s intriguing. And also why it really sucks sometimes.”