Here’s an example of when I could recognize a divine hand in my life:
One day last year, on our kitchen counter, buried underneath the old apple cores, brown bananas and three days worth of mail, lay an invitation from Boston College to participate as a panel speaker in a national symposium on marriage. (Here’s my advice: sleep with your spouse at least twice a week, be nice to him, and everything seems to get resolved.) The letter was thin, like the one I received 20 years ago that said something like this: “Your grades are good enough, and you’ve got the whole president-of-your- class thing going for you. But man, girlfriend, you forgot to eat your Wheaties the morning you took the SATs, because your scores truly suck. So, until some smarties decline our invitation to study amidst the academic stars, you get to sit your butt on the bench and wait.”
The slender envelope slightly crushed my 17-year-old heart because my (detailed) plan was to major in international business at BC. My dad and I visited the school in the fall of my junior year in high school, and I fell in love with its program, its campus, and its city.
Instead I landed at a college in the ugly city of South Bend, Indiana.
And thank God for that.
Because within one week at Saint Mary’s College, my alma mater and spiritual home, I was in therapy for the first time and asking the important questions, which had nothing to do with international business.
The exceptionally nurturing environment of this all-women’s college made it possible for me to begin my recovery from depression and addiction. And it was there, in those small and intimate classrooms, that I stumbled upon my love for writing and uncovered my inner theologian–a person unsatisfied with the neat and tidy answers printed in the Catechism.
What about you? Do you have any “failures” that you now appreciate in retrospect?