I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had this happen. You think you’ve got everything figured out, and all is moving along quite nicely when, suddenly… Bam! You get broadsided. Maybe it’s a relationship, or a business deal, or a project you been working on. Regardless of the situation; the feeling is the same. You’re left standing in the middle of this weird, swirling vacuum trying to figure out what happened and what to do next. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. If it hasn’t happened to you, count on it happening sometime in the future.
I’ve been broadsided a number of times in my life. Most recently, it was a business arrangement that fell through. I can honestly say that it wasn’t my fault at all. Rather, it was because the other party in the deal lost funding for freelance work. Neither they nor I saw it coming, and so it was a great shock to all of us. Broadsided indeed.
After I got the news, I stood there in my little vacuum, swirling away and wondering why it happened and what I was going to do next. I’m still not out of the vacuum, but I have figured a few things out that I think are worth sharing.
The first thing I did was panic. Then, I tried not to panic, which is the first thing I should’ve done but didn’t. At least I caught myself before it got out of hand!
The second thing I did was to take a deep breath and surrender the situation to God. More accurately, I felt helpless and needed some time to regroup. Not knowing what else to do, I wandered into the living room, plunked myself down, and said the rosary. In retrospect, that was the perfect thing to do. The situation was bigger than I was; there was no way I was going to figure it out without the help of Our Lady.Next, I looked back at the truck that had hit me, so to speak. I faced reality, accepted what was happening, and considered what I might do to get myself back on my feet. Admittedly, this wasn’t an easy task. But, eventually, ideas began to spring forth. Some of them were outright terrible, but some of them are pretty good.
During times like these, I run to Scripture to uphold me. One of my favorite passages comes in St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
“I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. (Phil 4:12-13)
The next day, I started implementing the good ideas one by one.
I’m still in the “implementing good ideas” phase right now, but I know from past experience that sooner or later, some of them – or maybe even all of them – will work. Not, of course, without God’s grace and tons and tons more rosaries!
Over the years, I’ve discovered that figuring out a new road to take is far less important than the process of regrouping, recouping, and getting back up on my feet. In most cases, I discovered years later that I actually benefited from the broad siding, even though that seemed an impossibility at the moment it happened. Each time around, it gets a bit easier to go through, albeit no less unpleasant. But that only happens when I remember to place myself into the arms of my Mother Mary and surrender myself to God’s wisdom and mercy instead of trying to figure things out for myself.
Beginners will get broadsided and remain down for a while, maybe even a good long time. With practice (and we know will get plenty of it), we’ll be able to remain standing after being broadsided. We may not be able to say it the first time, or the twentieth time, but eventually we’ll be able to say:
Broadsided, but still standing.