Adaptability: Planning, Preparation, Disappointment, Resilience, and Alternative Reward
June 15, 2023
The young girl grew up thinking of that day when her dad walked her down the aisle on a brilliant sun splashed day to marry the groom of their dreams. The chapel resplendent in decoration, attendants, family, and friends gathered for the special occasion. Everything is perfect, a joyous celebration, the beginning of “happily ever after.”
He strolls to the plate. The bases are loaded, last at bat, with two outs in the championship game. The team trails by one run. Everything he has worked for is on the line. Years of first playing catch with dad, sacrifices for Little League practices and games, hard work and diligence leading to this moment, what was planned for, what was meant to be. The time is now.
They had had their eye on that place in the mountains for years. Scrimping and saving every spare dollar, carefully allocating funds to that one purpose, that aspiration. Savoring the enjoyment of those cool crisp summers, and later freshly fallen powdery snow, ripe for an array of winter sports and cozy nights in front of the fireplace.
The wedding day brings rain showers. Funding is tight; there will not be enough for a large ceremony: in fact, a more likely scenario is a visit to meet with the Justice of the Peace. Or she was 25, 35, and is now 45 still waiting for that proposal.
After “taking” five pitches, it is now a three ball, two strike count. The sixth pitch is smashed down the left field line, inches from a game ending double. He takes the next pitch high and inside yet clipping just enough of the zone for a called third strike, game over.
And, that home in the mountains? He unexpectedly became ill mere days before closing on the property. Treatment would be expensive and once healed, his condition would not be conducive to high altitudes. Further, daughter had just lost her job. With her husband, their two kids, and only income from unemployment they were going to need a place to stay.
Life happens. We plan and make our preparations only to learn that circumstances end up being not what was expected. How well are you equipped to adjust? What is your level of resilience?
We are often called to improvise and adlib, yet it doesn’t mean we don’t seek to plan, prepare, and anticipate. Coaches and players at the highest levels of professional sports go to intricate lengths to increase their opportunities for success. Plans are made to respond to the expectations and tendencies of the opponent only to learn early in the contest that the other team has developed a completely different “alternate surprise” strategy, catching your squad fully off guard. The tactic has proven successful, yet there is still time to adjust. How do you come to an acceptance of the change and re-route your game plan, while there is still time? How nimble and deft are you to tap dance and seek different solutions? How have you learned and grown from the experience?
The Different Outcome.
The bride got married in a small civil ceremony. A few family members were able to attend. Not much fanfare. She didn’t abandon her dream from long ago, worked hard, saved, and launched a simple business as a wedding planner, recalling her passion and desire to now create special memories for others than herself. The enterprise flourished and became wildly successful, enabling her and her husband to celebrate the renewal of their vows on their 25th wedding anniversary gala in front of a throng of family, friends, and those she had provided bridal services to through the years. A different experience than once dreamt, yet so much richer.
Despite disappointment, he couldn’t help but love the game. He became an ardent student of fundamentals, technique, and strategy, dedicating himself to the intricacies of America’s pastime. His abilities as not only a teacher, but a mentor to countless young men, positioned him to return to his alma mater as head baseball coach. An epic rally in the bottom of the 9th inning brought not only the spoils of victory and that long desired championship, but the distinction of his being named coach of the year.
After recovering from his illness, he discovered that his passion was not so much confined to dreams of a place in the mountains, but rather the concept of resort property investment. With his wife, daughter, and son-in-law they made best use of their proximity to one another. A business launched, eventually becoming an extreme success. The daughter and her plight of unemployment was resolved. Although a place in the mountains was still not to be in the cards, a wide variety of world destinations and travel was now at his disposal.
My friends, life circumstances change. When we retreat into the locker room of life at half time, we may find that things may not have turned out as we might have hoped to that point. How can you adjust to the new reality? Might there even exist a better outcome for you and me than we may have ever imagined in our initial dreams? Don’t give up!
The Seed Sower