30-plus years ago, I found out in my first semester in college that my student loans didn’t come through due to a glitch in the paper work.
I ended up dropping out of college that first semester and joining the Army.
I thought it was a bad thing. But turned out to be a good thing.
Then I went to Alabama for Basic Training and had adventures.
There I was warned of poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, and poisonous plants. Then I was told to go play war in the middle of that forest, sleep in that forest, and check my sleeping bag for big poisonous snakes before I settled into it after a day of War Games.
It rained day and night on all 5 days of Bivouac..
I met people I will never forget, (even if I’m not in touch with any of them) and grew in discipline, maturity, and bank account.
I learned what a Boilermaker in Germany was (and enjoyed more than a few!) I ate schnitzel mit case und champignon which translates into a German for ‘porky fatty thing that hides its fatty chewy side by being overcooked and slathered with cheese and mushrooms’. It was actually delicious!
Fast forward to 3 years later, I thought I was a fool. I’d just passed the Sergeant Board and was told I would be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. But I was 6 weeks away from the end of my 3 year active duty term, and they wanted me to re-enlist before they could give me my promotion.
But I was burnt out, done, had had enough of my soldiering days and didn’t have the stomach to re-enlist.
As I took the Greyhound home, I was kicking myself for not doing 20 years in the Military and thereby insuring myself a small retirement for life. I thought I was a failure.
5 months later I was back in College.
What was at first a catastrophe (no college loans coming through) ended up being a blessing for me- an experience in the Army that made me grow up, made me strong, and helped me have the maturity and discipline I needed to later go to college- while living and paying for college at below poverty level income.
So often when we think it is the end, often it is the beginning. So many seeming set backs have turned out to be times where fate was re-setting my course.
I’ve learned to have faith. Learned to trust. And I’ve learned that though life is often a mystery, there is a purpose and meaning and reason for the many little setbacks, happenings, and stories that happen to us. We just need to have faith.