March 26, 2010

A moment in the midst of Moments

Filed under: Kids and Life — jenny @ 8:50 pm

When I was a senior in high school, and had been rejected by the very last college I had yet to hear from–Barnard, which ironically became my alma mater after I transferred there two years hence–an old friend of my dad’s was visiting from Scotland.

I was lying length-wise on my childhood bed in my childhood room, sobbing. I was a kid and am now an adult who tends to hide her feelings from all but the most intimate in my circle. It was a sign of how heartbroken I was that even as this Scotsman sat on the edge of my bed, trying to say goodbye to this out of control, angst-ridden adolescent, I couldn’t pull myself together.

I had been dreaming of going to college for a long, long time. Only one thing penetrated my caul of sorrow, and that was when Jim said the following in his thick brogue.

“Jenny, I know you won’t believe this now,” he said. “But sometimes, the things that seem the worst to us turn out to be for the best.”

Then he patted me fondly if a little awkwardly–remember, out of control teenager, and Jim had at that point only a four year old–simple, easy–and got up and left for points east.

(Scotland’s east, right?)

I applied late to Bard College. I went there for two years and left for a reason that still seems divinely steered given how much I loved Bard–but that’s for another post.

What’s for this one is that Jim was so right that I remember his words these many years later, and still recount them for basically anyone who will listen.

Sometimes the worst things turn out to be for the best.

If you really take that to heart, you can weather a lot of blows. You can anticipate that what seems like a big ole punch to the gut just might turn out to be exactly what you needed.

We’re at a point like that again now. It’s not anywhere near as bad as that final rejection letter felt. But things are a bit in upheaval, we’re not sure how the next step of our lives might shake out.

I’m trying to remember Jim’s words. I’m hoping that for anyone who’s in a similar place, those words might have meaning, too.


  1. *sending hugs* It’s so true, isn’t it. Sometimes the things that seem worst are exactly the kick in the butt needed to start on a better path. One door closes, and another opens, provided we don’t get bogged down in the depressing emotion of it.

    I wish you the best of luck on whatever this transition is you need to go through!

    Comment by Hart — March 29, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  2. Thanks, Hart. A few doors cracked, so I think you are exactly right–we are looking for that opening. Hey, it’s true on the writing front, too, isn’t it?

    Comment by jenny — March 31, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

  3. God’s plans are always way better than my own. But it takes a while for me to get over myself to see that to be true.

    And then, of course, there’s that whole control thing.

    Not to mention the idea of layaway. When I want something, I’m willing to work for it. But then I want it. At that moment. Don’t be talking to me about timing, perfect or otherwise.

    Don’t be talking to me about when one door closes another one opens. I can get way to invested in one door. That one. The red one. Did someone say stubborn?

    But, my friend Jenny. See the things around you that are truly important. Your husband, your kids. Family and friends. There, that’s about it. The rest is just so much fluff.

    I truly believe things always happen for the best. It just takes a while to get there sometimes. And there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll get there.

    To the best that’s yet to come.


    Comment by Peg Brantley — March 31, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  4. Hang in there hon. I, too, used to turn everything into a melodrama, but learned that rolling with the punches is equally as effective as going hysterical – and much easier to do!

    Comment by Diane — April 1, 2010 @ 8:14 am

  5. Thanks for the support, everybody. Opening doors, rolling with punches…all great advice. I’m usually pretty good at maintaining perspective, and feel, as Peg said, that as long as there’s health and safety for me and those I love, family, friends, we’ve got what we need, and more than enough to be grateful. Can’t say I was this balanced as a teenager, of course.

    Comment by jenny — April 1, 2010 @ 8:26 am

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