I recently watched the Hallmark movie “Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Lost Without You”. There was a line in it that really resonated with me. One of the main characters Oliver said to his friend, “You have to trust the timing”. I know it is just a movie; still, the expression has stayed with me. When life takes an unexpected turn and you have control over little, it is comforting to think that maybe there is a bigger plan or something good still waiting to unfold.
It was a week of endings and beginnings. I had to go to my old school to clean out my classroom. It was a day I had been dreading. Even under the best of circumstances, packing up a classroom is a daunting task. Returning after an unexpected year long, career ending absence was not something I anticipated eagerly.
Amazingly, it went about as smoothly as it possibly could. I hired a couple that helps my folks to help me with the carrying and moving everything. Between their truck and my SUV, we got it all in one trip in about an hour and a half. If you have ever known me and my penchant for bringing my own materials to school, you’ll know this was a huge accomplishment! The fact that I had super organized everything in my classroom before I got sick was definitely a bonus. It was fun to be reunited with my old materials. There were things I missed having access to for my nephews and niece as well as things I just love.
It’s a strange thing to let go of a lifetime career. I wasn’t retiring in the normal sense. I still don’t really know what the future will hold. I just know that at this time in my life, I don’t have the stamina and strength to do this job. It was bittersweet, but it was also filled with some lovely “trust the timing” moments.
I had ordered crates from Wal-Mart to pack my books in. I decided to take a chance on their free shipping promotion and use them instead of Amazon. They had exactly what I wanted and I hoped it would be the easiest way to store the books and possibly even use them in the future. The crates were supposed to arrive by Thursday, the day set to make the move. Of course, they didn’t make it by the promised date.
I had previously bought plastic totes with lids in anticipation of packing other items in my house. Since the crates had not arrived, I had no choice but to use the bins instead. I could have freaked out and stressed over the AWOL crates. Instead I just grabbed the bins. I trusted the timing. Here’s the thing. It turns out I had the exact amount we needed to pack everything. They also fit perfectly in the bed of the truck and the lids kept everything dry as the ongoing rain we were having fell on our return trip. I could not have planned it better.
I left early the next morning to go on a previously planned trip for a long weekend in NYC with my son. While I was on the bus with my phone muted as requested by the driver, I missed two calls from the school. It seems something they had ordered had inadvertently gotten mixed up with my items. By the time I got the messages, school was out for the long weekend. I’d have to wait until I returned to take care of it.
I thought I was done with that task and chapter. Now I had to go back to it. I wasn’t happy. As it turned out, it would become another “trust the timing” moment. The reason the item had been mixed up with my stuff, was because it looked exactly like my stuff. They had ordered duplicates of items I had purchased and brought with me because they had been helpful with a student.
I had only been at that job for 10 days. Two weeks. And yet I had still somehow managed to have an impact on a student. That realization made my day.
When I went to return the duplicate item, the timing fairy was again at work. As I waited for the teacher that had replaced me to arrive at the front desk, the exact student using the materials also arrived. He was at the front desk wanting to see the very same teacher. He wanted to show her what he had accomplished in the classroom. As I stood there and waited my turn to speak with her, I had the privilege to watch this young man share a story he had written. He had come so far. It was a special moment.
He didn’t recognize me. That was ok. Maybe it was because I had only been there two weeks. Maybe it was the invisible effect (see previous post). It didn’t matter. He had grown. They had used items I had bought and brought to school with him. I was, in a tiny way, part of this victory. Had there not been a mix up in the packing, I would never have known that nor had the chance to see him. It was another “trust the timing” moment.
I’m not saying that we should always sit back and do nothing but go blindly along for the ride with a “trust the timing” perspective. What I am saying is that often, when we think things are awful or out of control and we only see the negative, there is often good to be found. It might be in a lesson learned, a hidden blessing, or just an outright gift we never expected. As my life has taken so many unexpected turns, I have found there are now many “trust the timing” moments that I never noticed before.
By changing our perspective to look for the good in a situation rather than just grumbling with the negative, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience unexpected moments of joy we would probably miss altogether otherwise.
I still get grumpy. I still get annoyed. I still sit and sulk sometimes when life does not goes as I had planned or wished. But I am also trying to slowly train my brain to look for the good, and in the process I am finding so many more joyous and grateful moments.
As I checked one last time to see if the missing crates had arrived before leaving for the school that day, I found another package instead. It contained the proof copies of “The Airport Adventures of Purple Moose” children’s book I had written and had been anxiously awaiting. This was the beginning of the new chapter I was so eager to begin. I had wanted to pursue writing these books for several years. Family, jobs, and life in general had always gotten in the way. Now I had the time.
I like to think the fact the proof copies arrived a few days later than expected and showed up just before I was to go and move out of my classroom was another “trust the timing” moment. One chapter was ending, but the next one had already arrived, waiting to take its place.
Life can be filled with many different adventures. I’m looking forward to this next step in my journey. And I am going to try to “trust the timing” in the process.