A Bittersweet Week

by - 8:25 AM

I sometimes think about life as this giant maze. Remember the old Windows screen-saver that led your eyes through a series of brick walls? Left, right, left again -- it went on forever.

I think that life is a little bit like that maze. You have the option, when you hit a fork, to go left or right, or maybe even straight. It's up to you which direction you choose, but you can't know until you commit to a turn, where that choice will lead. That choice can be detrimental, or it can be entirely responsible for success. You don't always know the outcome of your choices, but regardless, they're pretty important. 

There are things hiding in those brick walls. Things that you don't know are waiting for you there. Sometimes they're good. Really good. But sometimes they're not. Either way, you run into them because you made a decision to go left, instead of right. Or whichever. 

The point is, the best we can do is trust ourselves. Make informed decisions and be ready to ride out the wave when we run into those lurking surprises. 

This week, two families changed dramatically. Their mazes went in entirely different directions. One went left, the other went right. Neither was in control of what was waiting there.

I have a sister who has made maze decisions that have resulted in very tough life lessons. You can't see that coming -- you just make the best decisions you can and sometimes, it just kind of turns into a difficult road. Her very young children lost their father this week and out of respect for a grieving family, that is all I'm going to say about that.

Those babies though, their maze took a very definite turn, and it was out of their control. It was an impactful turn in their life maze, and sent them in a direction that will undoubtedly change their lives forever. They didn't get a choice there, but sometimes that's how life works.

I have another sister, who also made maze decisions that, early on, led to a difficult road. Somewhere though, she decided to take a left at the fork and things just sort of righted themselves.

It was a bittersweet week, because while two children in my family lost a father, another child gained one.

I have a sweet sweet niece, Adelly, who just makes my world turn. Several months ago, my sister and her husband each took hold of Adelly's hand and together, they hit a fork and decided to take a right. They decided to take a very definite turn in their shared life maze and it turned out positively. My sister's husband, officially adopted Adelly on Friday. A man, his wife, and their two children -- their family -- they all share the same last name. Now, whatever surprises wait in their path, they will face together. Lefts, rights, dead-ends, all of the good and the bad, will meet a united front: a family. 

And you know what Friday was?

His birthday.


Life is such a mixed up cocktail of coincidence and choice. You do the best you can and trust your gut, but sometimes it betrays you. Other times it rewards you.

I think often about the surprises that wait for me in the future. The choices, turns, I've made so far that have set me up for what's coming next but there is the unchangeable fact that I can't see the future.

I don't get coincidence. How do two completely separate mazes hit the same brick wall in the same week, but go into entirely different directions? It doesn't make sense. But, I guess it's not supposed to.

That's how the maze works. It doesn't make sense.

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