Monday, June 8, 2009

Taking life as it comes

Last winter, I was put on a six-weeks’ wait for surgery on my knee. It meant I had to reschedule a speech I’d been invited to give in another city.
At 4 p.m. on the Friday before surgery I got a voicemail message: my surgery was postponed a week.
Oh no! A delay would interfere with my travel plans.
All weekend I stewed. In an endless loop, I mentally argued why I needed my surgery on the original date. Why it wasn’t fair to make me wait longer. How my flight had a nonrefundable ticket. By Sunday, I had a giant chip on my shoulder. Except….
Except that sometimes we hear the right words just when we need them. In church on Sunday, Fr. Bill McVay said “We lock ourselves into suffering by wanting things to be different from what they are. When something isn’t going your way, ask God to help you be open to what is.”
Those words helped me enter the surgical scheduler’s office on Monday with a different attitude. Calmly, I explained the problem of my non-refundable airline ticket.
The scheduler was sympathetic. Another doctor’s mother had died unexpectedly, so his colleagues were picking up his cases. "But let me what I can do,” she said.
She managed to get me back on my original schedule.
Would that have happened if I had angrily stormed into her office? Would she have tried so hard on be behalf?
It’s okay for us to try and affect an outcome. But ultimately, life is what it is. Peace comes when we learn to accept that.

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