How is it a good thing we got the wrong start time for a funeral?
My cousins’ grandmother (their other side of the family) passed away earlier this week, with services Friday and Saturday. Mark and I drove down Saturday morning for the 10:00 funeral. When we pulled in the lot at 9:55, we were the only car besides the hearse. Shit.
And also, commode.
A quick google search (what did we do before google?!) showed that we did in fact arrive at the correct location, but an hour early.
Let me take pause to say that this space – the second something happens that is different from the expectation, the plan, or the preference – is the point at which you can choose how to move forward. What’s done is done. Now it’s up to you to react.
The first time I ever had success with asking myself How is it a good thing? I had been hugely inconvenienced by an inconsistent rule at a car rental place. Perhaps I’ll give you the full story at a different time. The short version is, rather than raging on the inside, I noticed rage bubbling and gave myself a mental timeout.
First and foremost, I breathed a few times, then repeated the full phrase I’d once read at a yoga studio: “If this is a perfect universe, how is it a good thing?” In the span of those breaths and that one question, the whole situation turned around in front of my eyes.
It’s in the smallest of spaces – between rage and reaction – when the question How is it a good thing? is most efficacious.
Assigning blame doesn’t matter. Dissecting what happened doesn’t matter (there’ll be time for that later). In this space, between inconvenience and outcome, what matters is not letting emotion make you a) batshit crazy, b) nonsensical, and/or c) all of the above. What helps me is to trust that there is a higher power at work, a bigger picture of which I’m only seeing a few pixels.
Step back. Breathe. Wait to see how it all unfolds for the good.
Back to an empty funeral home parking lot.
I’d just read the correct start time when the funeral home director approached my window. (Had I stayed parked where I was, I would’ve messed up the cemetery procession.) No worries. I told him the mixup and that it was a good thing we were an hour early, not an hour late. Still plenty of time – 60 minutes, to be exact – to salvage the situation.
Muscato was all glued to his phone watching the Ryder Cup on the ride down anyway (don’t worry, I drove). My stomach was rumbling like an old Model T.
Solution? An eatery, of course.
Muscato was hoping for a bar with televisions, but this is small town USA at 10:00 in the morning. McDonald’s it is.
I ordered a biscuit with grape jelly, he got a coffee, and for forty glorious minutes we sat. And sipped. And nibbled. He watched golf. I wrote the bulk of this installment.
Pretty good, huh? From commode to ode to joy in less than and hour, and it’s all thanks to arriving to the funeral at the wrong time.
Categories: Odes To Joy