This past week was filled with gifts of grace. Following a week in which I was so aware of how my best and most hope-filled plans seemed to get thrown off course, I experienced several days in which things that looked like negatives all ended up with positive results. And, of course, that's what also happened to those plans the previous week that seemed to be derailed.
Among the most recent examples:
-- Despite my best efforts not to care, I still struggle very much with wanting to be recognized for my diligent efforts as a copy editor in catching mistakes and keeping them out of the newspaper. But every month, no matter how many "catches" I enter in the newsroom contest (for January, it was more than 15, including misspelled or wrong names; wrong or missing dates; and factual errors) and no matter how good I think they are, someone else wins, usually for a single catch. I try not to let it bother me, but every month, my humanity gets in the way, and it does bother me. But this month, something unexpected happened. No, I didn't win for my "catches," but I won for a headline I wrote. It's ironic, because I don't consider headline writing one of my strengths at all. But when it comes to that monthly contest, I've probably been recognized more for my headlines than my editing. (Adding to the irony, I would not have been able to enter my winning headline, "Wave of expansions buoys Port of Catoosa," had another copy editor not caught that I originally wrote "bouyed.") I definitely heard God laughing in all of this and also trying to get me to learn a lesson in humility.
-- As each day passed since my crown prep work, and after returning to the dentist twice to have the temporary put back on, my doubts grew that the temporary would make it until my Feb. 21 appointment to have the permanent crown put on. So, in God's perfect timing, as I was somewhat dreadfully preparing to work into the night of impending snowfall on Tuesday and immediately after I had read that I didn't win for my catches and did win for a headline, the inside of my temporary crown crumbled!!!!!!! The other times, the whole thing came off, but this time, the inside crumbled into small pieces, and the outside stayed in place, although I could tell it was loose. Aaaagggghhhh!!!!!! I did not want to go back to the dentist, and since it was after 4 p.m., I decided I would wait until Wednesday to even call. As it turned out, the snow did come. I would have been able to make it to work for my four-hour shift on Wednesday, but instead I was able to get an appointment to take care of my tooth problem. And while there, I received totally unexpected good news: The permanent crown had come in early, so they were able to put it on!!!! After a tooth saga that had begun with crown prep work and 2 fillings on a snowy morning in mid-January, this was great news. So, the bad news of the temp crown crumbling turned into the good news of getting the permanent crown early. Maybe I'll be done with that for a while.
-- When snow and ice are in the forecast, it's hard for me not to fill with dread.
My place of employment stays open even when the weather is bad. When there's work to be done and I'm scheduled, I want to be there. But I live 25 miles from the office, so it's not always possible. So, I watch the forecasts and try to pack my car and an overnight bag appropriately and give it my best shot to get to work. The previous week, I was glad to be told to stay home on the worst day (even though I had to take personal leave time). This time, I could have made it to work, but I knew from the work plan of the previous day that enough people would be there to get the job done. Then, when the dentist's office was able to get me in, that made the decision to not go to work for my 4-hour shift even easier. (And since I didn't go to work, and my husband also was off because of the snow, we had an early Valentine's, going out to eat and then renting two DVD movies to watch.) So, two weeks in a row now, I've experienced silver linings among the snow and ice of winter weather. And because of my crazy schedule, I was able to miss just the four-hour shift each week, working the other 36 hours of my week the other four days.
Among the lessons learned (again?):
-- God knows exactly what each person, including me, needs, and He gives each person exactly what that person needs. But it's up to the person to accept what God gives. God doesn't force His gifts upon us. And sometimes the gifts are disguised.
-- God works all things for good.
-- God has a sense of humor. I might as well enjoy it and share it.