Missing the Boat

 ship at boat yard on a gray day

We had been looking forward to our deep-sea fishing trip for weeks.  I was especially excited since it would be a new experience for me, and was a great way to spend some family time with my sons.  We were told to be at the marina at 6:45 am for departure at 7:00.  Surprisingly, everyone got up without complaint and got ready to go.  We left a few minutes late, but no one was worried about not making it in time.  We were sure we knew where we were going.  As the drive seemed to get longer, though, and the departure time drew near, we all realized that  no one had actually taken the time to look up specific directions.  We all assumed we knew where we were going.  The atmosphere in the car changed from one of excitement and anticipation to edginess and blame within moments.  We called the marina only to be told the boat had left promptly at 7:00 without us

Disappointment welled up inside me.  Calling the marina again to inquire about a refund seemed hopeless- after all, it had been our responsibility to arrive on time.  I decided to give it a shot-  what could it hurt?   The lady who answered was kind and understanding and offered a solution to our dilemma.  "We have a six hour trip leaving at 9:00 and returning at 3:00.  It would only be $5 more than what you paid for the shorter trip that you missed."  Would we be interested?  With an emphatic "Yes," we got directions, made it to the marina to get our tickets and still had time for breakfast at a little bakery around the corner.  The six hour fishing experience ended with a couple of strings full of fish, wonderful memories, tired bodies, and some thoughts about "best laid plans" in life.

We may have our heart set on a specific goal or plan, and that door closes.  We can dig our heels in, focusing on that frustrated plan and get stuck there.  Being flexible - stepping back to look at other opportunities may serve us well at times like this.  We may be surprised to find that the path to our goal may not be what we had hoped, but one that works out just as well or better than we had imagined.

Being prepared is basic to helping our plans to succeed.  If we just assume that we know how to get there, we may wind up getting lost.  For example, if you are engaged and desire a close, satisfying marriage, it may be beneficial to invest in premarital counseling. Being able to learn and grow with each other before entering marriage is one way to prepare.  Relationships are intentional.  If we just drift along hoping to have the kind of marriage we desire, we may find ourselves in troubled waters.  

If we do encounter disappointment due to frustrated or failed plans, it is important to acknowledge the feelings.  Sadness, grief, and anger are human emotions and must be dealt with in order to move forward in a positive manner.  Stuffing or ignoring feelings doesn't usually work and may keep you stuck, feeling that you have missed the boat.  Journaling, exercising, meditation, or talking to a trusted friend or counselor may be helpful to express and process painful emotions, freeing you up to embrace new opportunities in life.