The Gift(s) When Things Go “Wrong”

My life has not gone according to my plans at all. In fact, the cliché, “We make plans and God laughs” comes to mind. I’ve been determined to make the best of things – which is not to say that I haven’t had my grief, whining, anger, despair, resentments, and complaints along the way. I’ve had the full range – and to be clear, I value the full range. I’m a big fan of Carl Jung, who famously said, “I’d rather be whole than good.” 

However. Even through all of my resistance – even though Life has had to drag me kicking and screaming at times – the fact of the matter is that if I stop to breathe and center myself a moment, I can clearly see where each experience has led me to where I needed to be, to the lessons I needed to have, to the strengths I needed to develop, and to the people with whom I was meant to connect. Every single, horrible, disappointing, unpleasant, heartbreaking, and/or unwanted event has had a purpose. There are a few things that I’m still not sure why they happened the way they did – but I do know that they are part of what brought me to where I am today, which is definitely where I need to be. So, there’s that. 

In addition to the “negative” responses I’ve had to the interruptions, blocking, and destruction of my own plans, I’ve also experienced personal growth, strength, courage, resilience, compassion, and a host of other “positive” impacts from these detours Life has thrown at me. 

A few examples: 

Falling and breaking both of my arms at the same time was decidedly not fun. However, that accident showed me some very important things about my life. It exposed a “friend” whom I’d spent most of my days with for years, to whom I’d given money, loaned my car, given free childcare, and frequently (daily) fed her and her child – as not being my friend at all. I could have gone on giving and trusting forever had I not been given the opportunity to clearly see that she was just using me and didn’t actually care about or value me at all. She did not lift a single finger to help me when I was completely helpless.

Thankfully, that same experience also showed me a true friend, a retired nurse, who took me into her home and took care of me for two months – until I could take care of myself again. The first couple of weeks, I couldn’t even hold a toothbrush or a fork. She did everything for me. I don’t know how I would have survived without her. My gratitude for her is endless. My gratitude for basic health and mobility also increased thanks to that experience, along with my understanding of how it feels to be at the mercy of other people’s compassion, care, and kindness. I’d been the caregiver a few times in my life. This was my time to allow myself to be cared for – and to do something that I’ve struggled with: to allow myself to receive. Just receive. Not give back. Not over-give, doing something even nicer/better for the other person. Just receive. 

In fact, Life has busted me down a few times in the past few years. It’s been challenging for me in my life to ever ask for help – or for anything. I’ve let my ego stand in the way. I’ve let fear stand in the way. I’ve let a sense of unworthiness block me from asking for what I want, need, or desire. I’ve had a hard time pushing past that – so Life pushed me. When I had cancer, I had to have surgery in a different state than where I lived – and a few friends took me in and took care of me throughout the whole ordeal and healing time.

Later, when I risked everything on an invention I created and the business that I thought would take the world by storm … and ended up having to sell my house and go into bankruptcy – I was welcomed into a friend’s home, where I was able to rent an inexpensive room. My pride may have been kicked in a bit, but it was good for my ability to accept help and to feel belonging, care, and community. I also learned the important lesson that allowing other people to give generously to you gives them the opportunity to feel good about themselves, to feel generous, loving, giving, kind, and empowered. Because when someone is able to be strong for other people and help them, they feel empowered. I’ve denied people those good feelings too often in my life by refusing to accept help, needing to be “self-sufficient.” Life taught me that I can’t be – that being held in community matters.

I may regret my marriages, but my first marriage gave me my beloved child and my second marriage took me to a place in Florida where I wouldn’t have gone on my own, where I met wonderful friends and chosen family. So, the marriages served their purpose – not to mention the many lessons I learned in each marriage about life, myself, and relationship/s. 

There have been countless incidents of redirections, closed doors, roadblocks, falls, losses, hurts, and other upsets. Sometimes Life has been gentle and sometimes not. There have also been countless incidents of kindnesses, opened doors, opportunities, grace, love, hope, possibilities, and other beneficial occurrences. My life has been blessed. Everything that has happened in my life has given me some form of gift – perspective, wisdom, insight, blessings, friendships, love. 

My life is no different in this than anyone else’s. We all have our paths we are meant to travel, our lessons we are meant to learn, the gifts we are meant to receive. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of our plans. We think we know exactly what we want and how it should all unfold. I’m learning to go for what I want – but also to hold it loosely, knowing that the Universe may have better plans for me. I’m learning to trust my journey, trust my path – and know that everything happens in Divine Right Order and Timing. I’m patient with myself when I’m struggling to accept what’s happening. It isn’t easy giving up our illusions of control and “safety.” Self-compassion is an essential ability to develop. I just try to remember to tap into my Inner Knowing – and to connect with that eternal Self that can keep me calm, grounded, peaceful – and in trust that there is a gift in every situation for me to discover – and that I am always on the right path for me.

Published by freekat2

I'm choosing as much as I can to be curious rather than afraid, to be open and willing to learn, to express myself as authentically and vulnerably as I can manage in any given moment, and to enjoy this journey of life.

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