Have you ever seen Four Weddings and a Funeral?
Despite my best (and relatively successful) efforts to curb my non-praiseworthy ability to swear like a sailor, my Saturday morning began with two very clearly enunciated profanities. The channeling of my inner Hugh Grant was due to the fact I’d woken up at 7.29am. Hardly a hardship I know, in fact I am sure many friends, particularly parents, would be only too delighted to be awoken at this reasonable hour.
My own problem with the situation was that my carefully researched, non-transferable-this-train-only train had left Euston at 7.23am; a winning start to Saturday. So regardless of the fact I live a good half hour’s travel from Euston and the train had already departed, I leapt out of bed, straightened my hair (priorities), threw some clothes on and tumbled out the door.
As I stared into the mirror, very close up as I’d neglected to locate and put on my glasses (totally on it…), I thought very distinctly, ‘this is a terrible day’. And then I checked myself. Granted (ha!), this was a terrible start to the day.
But I had two options. The first, which I very much wanted to take, was to burst into tears. The after-much-deliberation £16 pre-booked reserved seat was now going to become an at least £50 (or as much as £80) excursion which I didn’t especially want to spend. My help in the preparations for my God-daughter’s blessing was now on a delay of at least two hours – super helpful. Mental preparations for the early start were awry, along with my much anticipated coffee and changes routine for the journey (trains not clothes, although there’s an idea…).
My entire day was now out of kilter and I was out of sorts – beginning your day in a sweary panic not being the ideal scenario. But the terrible-ness of my day could only hold as much power as I let it.
Someone once told me that your first thought is usually a societal, cultural reaction, the one that comes unbidden to mind (&*%^!! Day ruined.), while the second is your actual reaction. Part of me wanted to persist in my internal screaming of ‘what a terrible day!’.
My second thought was that this was only one thing. I could let it ruin my day which I felt it frankly had, or I could accept that it had happened and get on with it. None of the problems were insurmountable. Another train ticket could be purchased and a train caught, albeit at a premium. I would still get to see a large portion of family, and there was no way I now wasn’t going. I was going be a lot later, but that was just the way it was now.
My prayer was that this diversion would have some sort of significance, a value or pre-appointed worth. Perhaps an opportunity to have a conversation or to be more Christ-like, which had perhaps already happened in having to choose to be okay with the change of plan.
On arriving at Euston I messaged my cousin to share my change of times and profusely apologise (as is my wont), and within ten minutes she had organised me a lift from Suburban Surrey at a train cost of £5.35.
I made it to the North only four hours behind schedule, having had a coffee and a Greggs en route, and still managed to assist with elements of preparation.
But little God-daughter, on your dedication day, what lessons can you learn from me? I sincerely hope it won’t be any inappropriate language for which your mother will kill me, though I’m quite sure you’ll accidentally learn that from your other second cousins anyway. But little girl, you can choose your attitude, and society’s expectations don’t have to be your decisions. I hope you choose to be different and counter-cultural. I hope you choose to follow your own dreams and listen to God not the world.
And always, always check your alarm clock isn’t set onto weekdays only…