As per usual when I write, I should be working. I’m not avoiding work. I just have too much on my mind to focus and I won’t be able to make any sense of anything until I get it written down.
Today I was late getting to school. I’d like to be able to blame it on traffic or some important meeting that kept me. But no, I just plain spaced on going to school. Sometimes widow/mom/grad student brain is a bitch. Anyway, parking on campus is a nightmare at any time of the day, but it’s the freaking Hunger Games during midday. So when I arrived on campus, already late, I rushed through my normal parking lot, knowing that the parking Gods were definitely not going to smile upon me this time. I was right, they didn’t. So I rushed to the neighboring lot, barreled down the first row of cars, screeched around the corner, and then- there it was. A parking spot just for me. The universe had heard my pleas and aligned the stars in order to give me this. one. spot. Just for me. It may as well have had my name on it. Like, engraved into the asphalt. That’s a thing, right? Yeah.
I was almost crying tears of joy at the thought of pulling into that sweet space, turning off my engine, and walking my merry little self to class. Then the unthinkable happened. A black sedan, which I can only imagine was being driven by the devil himself, pulled into the opposite side of the parking lot. Before I knew what was happening, that car had maneuvered itself smoothly between those two lines like the words of a love letter. Thoughtfully and poetically woven on crisp, college-lined paper, but horrendously repulsive. Love letters and people who steal parking spots freaking suck.
I was so. angry. Like I’m a bit embarrassed at how upset I was, but not that embarrassed because let’s be honest, THAT GUY is the asshole. I swore. I shook my steering wheel a little bit. I probably would have gotten out of my car and like, I don’t know, challenged him to a duel or something, but who has time to fight a duel these days, amiright? And I was already running late.
Instead I turned down the next row of cars, submitting to my circumstances and accepting the fact that, nay, it was not meant to be. I geared myself up for the drive to the parking lot on the other end of campus and the longer walk that would accompany it. I was almost to the exit when, suddenly, there IT was. MY parking spot. Not the one that I had wanted, not the one that I had set my heart on. Not the one that I thought was intended for me. But the one that was for me. And you know what? It was amazing. And even though I had to go through a mini existential crisis to get to it, it was worth it.
Sometimes things are taken from us. Sometimes our plans don’t go as planned. Sometimes when we think we know what Heavenly Father intends for us, our worlds are turned upside down. Sometimes we miss an opportunity. Sometimes that thing that we really, really wanted, the one that was perfect and meant for us, slips right through our fingers.
So what do we do? We can cry. We can scream. We can curse and beat our fists. We can, ya know, challenge random strangers to a fight to the death. But does that change anything? Does that restore what we lost? Does it make the pain less intense? Well actually, I’d say yes to that, throwing a temper tantrum does make the pain less intense sometimes. Anger is a great coping mechanism. But not a healthy one, especially when we’re using it long-term. It keeps us stuck. Stuck in a place where we can’t see what’s around us, where we can’t see the blessings that we’re missing out on. Where we can’t see what Heavenly Father is preparing for us.
There is so much good that can come from letting go. It’s painful and it’s hard and it straight up sucks a lot of the time. But there’s so much more. There’s so much more that’s being prepared for us that we will miss out on if we fight to hold on to what we can’t have.