More or less a conversation on Route 267, May 1985
“Where are we? “
“The access road.”
“The airport?! How far is that?
“17 miles….. you’re telling me we are going to drive 34 miles to get back to a hotel that was 5 miles from where we started. I suppose you find this funny?”
“Not really, it’s laughable, but it’s not funny.” (She wasn’t laughing.)
Yesterday I began and end my day in the same place I was in on that college road trip. I was “laughable, but not funny.” Other people get a good morning and good night and I got the “this is laughable, but not funny.” I suppose the coincidence makes it funny, but only in a cosmic sense.
I use to wonder about the phrase “cosmic irony.” I don’t wonder so much anymore. At some point you are just in the place where you have to laugh. The point is really the moment you realize you are lost…. that place where you cannot see the end of your travels or maybe even remember how they began. That too is funny, because all I can think of lately, is “how did I get here?” Essentially it was because I took more than a few wrong turns in life.
One day I am going to sit down and backward engineer those wrong turns, but I already know what I will find.
I know I would not be having taxing conversations about costs with a business manager (my morning “you are laughable, but not funny.”) if I did not walk into Misericordia nearly twenty years ago. What a wrong turn that was! As was the decision to adopt, make friends, travel, fall in love, and stick my neck out on more than a few occasions. In fact my whole life has been what many would call a series of wrong turns starting with the one that put me on the good earth to begin with. Those wrong turns come with a heap load of pain, but each has also come from stuff more joyous than can be imagined. Now that is laughable, in fact it is laugh out loud laughable. If at this moment I imagine that the score card of my life is just being evened out that distress could match all the remarkable beauty of a charmed life, then I have a lot more suffering to endure and probably more than a few wrong turns. That would vindicate the idea of karma, but I do not believe in karma. I believe in grace.
In the meantime, I will trudge through and wait for something to break my way. Maybe there will be an exit somewhere for a temporary reprieve in the muck of life. But I’m not holding my breath. More likely there is a wrong turn. I just hope when that happens, I can find it at least a bit laughable and maybe even a little funny.
Image: Dulles Airport, not one of the funnier places I’ve been to (courtesy Wikipedia)