on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

A Box of Chocolates

This is the ninth in a series written by Malcolm Marler and Mary Bea Sullivan, husband and wife, about their journey as Mary, an author, prepares to go to Virginia Theological Seminary.  Malcolm is a director of pastoral care at a hospital in Alabama.

“He Said,” by Malcolm Marler.

Forrest Gump’s momma was right, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Sometimes, life does not always work the way we expect, does it? I don’t know why we are so surprised, but we are.

For just a moment, I thought I was in charge in how things were going in my life.  I thought if I planned it, that is the way it would happen.  Silly me.

We had signed a contract to sell our house on the lake. There were just a few small details to work out.  It was perfect timing in our plan as we prepare for Mary to go to seminary.

But then the deal fell apart.

The problem is I had already made the move in my head. I had already moved into our loft in downtown Birmingham that is 1.16 miles from my office.  I was even educating myself about new bicycles so that I could pick out one that would be my new transportation to work in lieu of my 50 mile one-way daily commute.  My life would be simpler.

But we never know exactly what we’re gonna get, do we? We choose a chocolate from the box and it may be exactly what we hoped for, while other times there is a new texture, or a new ingredient that may or may not be our new favorite.

As hard as it is, I’m going to lean into this disappointment and feel it for a little while.

I want to let it soak into my skin like a long, hot bubble bath. I want to resist trying to fix it with positive self-talk and rationalizations.  Instead, I will sit with it and trust that somehow the very God I talk about to others on a daily basis is already working in my life.

Most church signs or billboard messages are entertaining to me as I drive by and usually shake my head.  But the other day one caught my eye that said, “Prayer without faith is wishful thinking.”

Hmm, “Prayer without faith is wishful thinking.”

My prayer is that I can respond to this disappointment with more than wishful thinking.

How about you?

When did things not go the way you had planned in your life? How did it work out for you?  I hope you’ll share in the comments section below.

Pass me another chocolate, please.



1 Comment

  1. Marti Holmes

    First of all, they almost never go the way I planned them!! Sometimes I do well adapting, and sometimes I try to force things into my plan. Either way, chocolate always makes it easier!!

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