Vacation – a time together with family. Ahhhh…downtime with the picture-perfect week with the nearly picture-perfect looking kids. A vacation without WIFI or internet; no crowded theme parks; no agenda, no clocks, and no problems. Part of our vacation included my wife and me, some of our kids, my best friend’s daughter and her fiance, my best friend’s father, the old ski boat, and the dog. The weather forecast called for near-perfect weather. Everything was practically perfect.
That was what I envisioned but it wasn’t a reality. We had a challenging start to our trip which should have been a sign, but we pushed through.
Instead of staying in the hotel reserved in advance, we detoured and spent the night with my brother because of our late start. The hotel wouldn’t refund our money.
Instead of visiting my almost 92-year-old uncle on the way down, we backtracked a few days later – on my birthday.
Instead of eating at a waterside restaurant near our vacation cabin, we ate a late dinner inside and missed the sunset altogether.
If things had worked out as I had planned, my plan was for a total digital detox.
I hired an executive assistant in advance of my trip, told clients I wouldn’t be available, and had the perfect remote location where there was no TV, no internet, and no ringing phone. It was really remote.
But alas, Murphy attacked right before we left.
First, my email went down – totally down. If you sent an email to me during this time, you received a message like this. I had to fire my webmaster for lack of follow-up – while on vacation.
I had two difficult conversations early in my vacation; interpersonal conflict is never fun.
I had to have a tele-visit with my doctor, an out-of-town trip to a dentist, and another doctor visit due to a tick taking up residence in a most inconvenient place.
And we had car trouble.
Then on my birthday, my mother-in-law fell and broke her shoulder resulting in a trip to the hospital. This caused my surfing day at the beach with my son to be cut short.
My son also accidentally dropped one of the fiberglass boards we had borrowed from a friend which resulted in two trips to a local surf shop for repairs.
My wife and one daughter left to go take care of my mother-in-law.
Goodbye family day at the beach; goodbye trip to one of the historic Florida springs; goodbye dinner at the waterfront seafood restaurant; goodbye family time; goodbye to the novels I had planned to read, and goodbye rest-filled technology-free vacation.
Then as I am writing this, while in route to Spokane, WA for a speaking engagement, I hear this intro to a song I’ve heard many times but without the introduction from the performer.
“You know sometimes we aren’t prepared for adversity. When it happens sometimes, we are cut short. We don’t exactly know how to handle it when it comes up. Sometimes we don’t know just what to do when adversity takes over and I have advice from all of us. I got it from my pianist Joe who wrote this tune which sounds like when you have to say when you have that kind of problem and it’s called… Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.
“On the other side of adversity is often something better!” Tim Richardson
Despite the unplanned diversion, spending time with her mother was exactly what was needed.
It’s not uncommon for things not to work out as we have planned – sometimes adversity will knock us off our feet and sometimes it’s just a temporary derailment. I certainly don’t always know how to handle adversity when it does happen – but my wife does – with kindness, love, and mercy.