All You Can Ask

The universe has a funny way of making things work. I have always been a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason,” no matter how big or small that reason may be. Maybe forgetting your keys inside the house made you late for work, but maybe it kept you from a three-car pile up on the highway. Maybe staying out for one more drink caused you to oversleep and miss a train, but then you ran into an old friend at the station. Maybe you broke your leg in five places but a friendly nurse snuck you extra peanut butter cookies in your hospital room. With the good, there’s always a little bit of the bad. With the bad, there’s always some good. Sometimes you have to look below the surface and other times it is right in front of your face.

Yesterday, I was leaving work and going five minutes away to pick up the two kids I babysit from elementary school. I was in a rush, as always, so I hopped in my car and started off. I drove only ten parking spaces through the lot before I realized something was not right. The front tire on the driver’s side was completely flat. Cue panic. I parked my car and went back into work so I could make the necessary calls and collect my bearings. It was not my first flat tire (that happened forty minutes into a five hour drive home from school) and I was in a much safer place than the side of the road, but I worried. As much as I wanted to shake it off and deal with the problem clearly, I was a little flustered at my bad luck and even worse timing.

It turned out that my initial panic was truly not necessary. The kids’ father was able to leave work early and pick them up from school; he also offered to call someone to pick me up or take care of my car, should I need the help.

One of my coworkers helped me change out the flat tire for my “donut” spare so I could drive home.

I made it across town to see my mechanic, where he removed the screw that had pierced my tire, patched it, and filled both the spare and my regular tire with air–all for no charge.

When I went to the gas station to fill up my tank later that afternoon, the attendant let the four-cents-over-the-dollar slide when I paid.

After I made it home safely and had a warm dinner, the kids’ mother sent me a text to make sure I was okay after everything.

Despite all of the afternoon’s commotion, I sat at home that evening filled with an immense adoration for the way things happen. The good with the bad and the bad with the good. There were so many signs that evening that things were okay, or they would be, that I was in awe. I imagine I probably miss those signs on a regular basis–tiny good gestures or bad coincides–but when I really needed them yesterday, I saw them clearly. I was so, so happy that I was reminded how good people can be.

We forget that sometimes–that there is still a lot of good in the world. But to be reminded in the way I was yesterday, I felt proud as well. This world is not as bad or scary as I often believe it is. People are not as bad or scary as I worry they can be. The good beat the bad yesterday, and sometimes that’s all you can really ask of the world.

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