At times, it can be easy to be lured into a false sense of security….enticed to be surface-centered…tricked into thinking that value and uniqueness lay in external things rather than in substance and being. Almost constantly challenged and urged to move faster, to be first, to be best, always to be and do more. We are surrounded by rapid change and quick-fire solutions many of which make things different, but not necessarily better.
In the midst of all the flux though, certain truths remain the same. For starters, life is not fair. We can try to understand, but we never really know all the reasons why things work out the way they do. Most often, though, there are hidden or unexpected gifts in the things that do not go as hoped for or planned.
Around the time of my college graduation, I was not sure what I wanted to do. I had no job lined up. I planned to take the summer off. In the weeks that followed graduation, almost every day I would go for a run. One day as I was jogging I decided I was going to enter the Army. Soon after, I took a test and filled out paper work. I felt very strongly that being in the Army was for me and would be good for me. I felt so excited for what might lay ahead. I had a vision of all that could be…a path to follow. Then, I received a call notifying me that for a medical reason, I could not enter the Army. I felt extremely disappointed, and once again I had no idea what I was going to do.
A few months later, though, I got an entry level job at a company for which one of my brothers-in-law worked. I worked on the 9th floor with eyes toward being on the 10th floor or above. Those were the floors with more prestigious jobs.
There I was on the 9th floor with a number of other recent grads and people close to my age. As time progressed, there was a group of us who started to go to lunch together, and sometimes to happy hours on Friday nights. Wanting to be in the Army became a distant memory and was replaced with a new desire to rise to the top. I had a new path, or so I thought. Meanwhile, from within that lunch bunch and happy hour gang, I would gain a fantasy football team partner. One with whom I shared laughter and had lively discussions over the course of the football season and the months that followed. Little did I know, I had met my soulmate. I was not looking for one. It just happened, and when it did, I chose a new path.
When I think back to how it all unfolded, I feel amazed that it all started with life being unfair. Then I realize, more often than not, it ends up being glorious beyond compare.
“In the dark night of the soul, bright flows the river of God.” – St. John of the Cross