This morning I had an appointment scheduled with a nurse at my new Endocrinologist office. Trust me, I’d thought through the day- I was going to knock out three birds with one stone, stopping first at my doctor for 10am, then picking up my contacts while I was out, in time to mosey along to my three year old’s speech language appointment at 12:30. No matter that I had an extra kid home sick today…I so had the day covered.
I stuck my oldest on the bus, packed up the boys and drove to my Southington appointment. Except when I got to the office there was a sign on the door that said they were closed on Thursdays. Weird. “Well, maybe just the doctor is out, but they have a nurse here…” So I asked the lady at the opposite reception area…you know…just in case.
(As I type this my rational self is shaking her head- “Seriously? The sign says “CLOSED” and you’re going to plow right ahead and confuse the poor receptionist there instead of admitting you made a mistake?)
She basically reiterated what the sign said- and to just heap some extra shame on myself, I asked her what phone number to call to sort this out with my doctor only to find out that (you probably guessed it) the contact number was ALSO on the sign.
So I called the number and apparently I was supposed to go to the New Britain office. Oh. The lady seemed as perplexed as I was: “I booked that appointment with you…why would you go to the Southington office?”
- Maybe because I have three children and only 2 functioning brain cells.
- Maybe because this is the only office I’ve been to so I just assumed despite your phone reminder.
- Maybe because OH! there’s a Starbucks over there…
- Or maybe I because I just screwed up.
I resented her question, but she quickly realized that I was flustered and kindly assured me I could call back and figure out a new appointment soon. So I dragged the kids downstairs, determined to salvage the trip by at least using the bathroom, but found that it was being cleaned.
Back to the van! I looked up directions pick up my contacts anyhow. Just to be safe, I checked their office hours. BLERG! – turned out the eye place was closed on Thursdays. Sensing a disappointing pattern here, but still determined to be productive in the 2 hours till my son’s appointment, I decided to find a place to have the oil in my van changed and also use the bathroom. (This is absolutely rational-people logic.)
So I found an oil place- full service- very nice people. The guy told me all their names and said, “If you need anything you can just say, ‘Hey Valvoline Guy!'” Great. Valvoline Guy. I can remember that. One problem…it was some express change so you stay in your car the whole time while they work. This was fun for my boys but now I was seriously second-guessing my brilliant decision to over-hydrate.
In the end, the oil was changed, the kids got a fun meal, my bladder survived, and we made it to the speech appointment no problem. Not the worst day of my life.
But this wasn’t the first time this week I’d made a massive mistake. Saturday I was beyond excited to drive up to Danbury CT to hear a Noble Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee, speak at PeaceJam (a gathering of mostly youth and college students). She’s absolutely amazing, uniting Christians and Muslims and helping end a civil war in Liberia. Well, an hour or so, a parking garage and some trying to get directions later…I realized that the lecture had already happened the night before. I missed it entirely. I was devastated and was ready to hop back in the car and cry my hour drive back home, but I ended up texting a friend who was helping with the Jam. She told me they were in the gym doing some cool dance and open mic stuff and I should totally join.
Ah yes. The college campus gym. Directions? So I awkwardly followed some girls and walked completely out of my element into this gym full of students, where my friend was leading a group in a dance to Bob Marley’s “One Love”.
Next thing I knew I was reliving a former Zumba nightmare trying to follow along to an African Dance. (How come college kids have so much energy and so little social inhibition?)
And perhaps around this time I started asking God, “Hey there…what’s going on? If I missed this awesome lecture and drove over an hour, I assume there’s something I’m supposed to get out of this detour.”
Well, this was one reminder that God sometimes works in our detours and even our ineptitude to accomplish His own plans. I ended up meeting a Bosnian woman who had come to America 20 years earlier as a refugee. She has since written a book of poetry about her experience, and currently works at a school teaching ESL to a student body that is 40% refugees.
I plan to connect with her more in the future and hopefully understand a bit more about refugees and how to help.
Though we often feel foolish or frustrated when plans fall through, when we go to the wrong place or at the wrong time, there’s always something happening. Maybe it’s just a perspective we need- a letting go once again of our control, learning to appreciate what’s in front of us anyway. Or maybe God is orchestrating something in our detours that we never would have known to “plan” to begin with.