The head of a company survived 9/11 because his son started kindergarten. Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts. One woman was late because her alarm clock didn’t go off in time. One was late because of being stuck in the New Jersey turnpike because of an auto accident. One of them missed his bus. One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change. One’s car wouldn’t start. One couldn’t get a taxi. The one that stuck me the most was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning. took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a band-aid. That is why he is alive today…
Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone… all the little things that annoy me, I think to myself, “This is exactly where I’m meant to be at this very moment.”
You may remember having read stories like these after the planes hit the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. It was an amazing reminder of how events that seem negative at the time can actually be blessings in disguise. The problem is that we don’t know they’re blessings until later. Sometimes much, much later. Sometimes we never realize it.
Sometimes it’s not a particularly “negative” event that turns into a blessing, but simply an event that occurs out of the normal routine, or a small choice that you make. One lady described being asked by a colleague to join him in a smoking break early in the day so they could talk over some business privately, which is why she wasn’t in her office when the plane slammed directly into it.
Several famous people were not in the World Trade Center that day for other out-of-the-ordinary reasons. A property developer had a dermatologist appointment that day. A head chef at a restaurant had to get new glasses that morning. One young woman who was booked on American Airlines Flight 11 that morning had a fight with her boyfriend and missed the flight. Another fellow who missed that flight had been given the wrong departure time by his travel agent.
A woman booked on United Flight 93 had to miss it because her mother had just had a stroke. An Australian Olympic swimmer visiting New York went for a jog, then decided to go up to the Observation Deck in the World Trade Center. Realizing that he’d forgotten his camera, he took a cab back to his hotel to get it. One fellow was supposed to attend a conference at the World Trade Center. but because there were so many attendees, the event was switched to a building across the street that had a larger room. The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson was supposed to be visiting her charity on the 101st floor of 1 World Trade Center, but she was running late after a TV interview.
Like the person who wrote the words at the top of this post, I also wonder, whenever my routine changes because of something that looks very much like an obstacle, whether my path is being diverted to avoid a nasty accident. Even when my path has taken my right smack dab into an accident, I wonder what good might hopefully come out of it. My spiritual training says that accidents and other difficulties are ways for us to burn off a lot of extra karma that we don’t need to carry around anymore. Negative-appearing events can also give us the opportunity to practice patience, humility, perseverance, or any number of other qualities.
Next time there’s a little hiccup in your life – or a big one, before you get upset, try to remember that this may be God’s way of keeping you safe or introducing you to a whole new set of circumstances in life. 🙂