As usual I was rushing. It was 1:00 PM on a Thursday and I had to drop something off at someone’s home before coming back to pick up my son (#2 of 5 as I affectionately refer to him) at 1:30 PM to take him for a physical at the doctor. As I’m mentally taking stock of all that I need to bring with me I grab things off of the table, grab my purse and head out the door. At the exact moment the door slammed behind me I reached into my pocket for my keys. In that same second the flash of insight in my mind showed me exactly where the keys were—on my dining room table. Expletive.
Checking my watch I start running through the ways in which I can get back into my apartment while simultaneously cursing myself for the stupidity of grabbing everything but my keys. At that moment I still had hope of keeping my schedule. Of course first thing I call the building manager. He’s not in. I call my husband. He’s an hour away at best and has no desire to rescue his damsel in distress. I try calling my son’s school explaining that I need child #2 home at 1 PM instead of at 1:30 PM as the morning’s note indicated and the woman who answered said she would do what she could to track him down. I pause and think: should I risk causing child #2 to have his phone taken away and text him during the day? Surely this counts as an emergency. I do it and wait for a reply. Nothing. I text again, “Hello?” Nothing. I call the school reception again—they still haven’t found him. It’s now 1:10 PM and it has become clear that I am not going anywhere. I lean against the wall and slowly slide down it to sit on the floor with a deep sigh and mutter aloud, “Okay HaShem, I get it. I’m in a 20 minute time out.”
Sure enough at 1:30 child #2 showed up on time with keys. His phone, of course, had been forgotten at home that day. The orchestration of my date with those 20 minutes had been thoroughly planned from the dawn of day. At first I thought perhaps I was being “punished”, then it occurred to me that maybe HaShem wanted me to slow my pace, take some breaths, care more for myself. Or, perhaps HaShem wasn’t punishing me but protecting me from something—seeing someone or something that would have been less than beneficial. Regardless, while sitting there in the silence I rested my head against the wall. I met a neighbor that I’d never seen before—a nice Korean man who doesn’t speak much English and found it a bit odd that I was sitting on the floor. I smiled. He smiled back and entered his home. The elevator beeped and buzzed. A horn honked in the distance. Voices echoed in the stairwell. My other neighbor, a college student, exited his apartment and gave me a funny look. I told him this was my new hangout. He chuckled and wished me luck. But I knew better. I knew luck had nothing to do with it. I knew this 20 minutes was significant and demonstrated to me just how clearly we are not in control and that as a member of the Universe we are all subject to the greater scheme of things.
I’d love to say that during these 20 minutes I had some epiphany, some major realization or light bulb moment, but I didn’t. The 20 minutes came and went with little fanfare. In hindsight I realize it was a test of sorts. Even just a few months ago I would have gotten angry and huffed and puffed and flipped out. I would have taken it out on those around me and tried to blame someone for my actions. I would have let it ruin my day and color all of the events that followed it. But I didn’t. I passed with flying colors if I may say so myself, simply because once I realized I wasn’t going anywhere I surrendered. I gave myself over to the circumstance and accepted that there was nothing I was going to do or say to change what was happening. I immediately showed gratitude for HaShem’s role in my life even though his plan didn’t quite match with my own. And you know what? It felt good. If felt really good.
Now here’s your test: Why is it HaShem has put this article in front of your eyes? Maybe it’s time for a time out . . .
By: Mia Adler Ozair
Mia Adler Ozair, MA, LPCC, NCC is a licensed clinical psychotherapist and educator with a private practice in Beverly Hills, California. Mia is licensed in both California and Illinois and she can be reached through her website at www.bhcounselingcenter.comter @MiaAdlerOzair.