Sunday, September 9, 2012

When a Bad Turn Turns into a Good Turn

Like many Americans, we had never been to a polo match before today. Our good friends invited us to attend with them, and to meet their beautiful new daughter. I knew we would be in unfamiliar territory at the tony Greenwich Polo Club event, which also featured a Ferrari car show and chaise lounges for drinking champagne. This became even more apparent when we took a wrong turn.

We were driving down a country lane in Greenwich, lined by a stone fence at least a hundred years old that provided privacy for the estates beyond it, when Ryan veered sharply left, onto a gravel driveway. The stone fence had become a white wooden fence that bordered a beautiful grassy hill and a stone clubhouse in the distance. We thought we'd reached our destination.

Unfortunately, the gravel drive ended ten yards beyond the open gate. The car ahead of us, who'd drawn the same conclusion, did a Y turn and exited. While in the middle of our Y turn, the gate swung shut. We were trapped on the patch of gravel. I hopped out of the car and yanked on that pretty white fence. It didn't budge. I looked for a manual release button, but all I could find was a keyhole. Meanwhile, Ryan was laughing at me from the car.

I climbed back in and asked, "What do we do now?"

"Offroad." Ryan gunned the engine, and the car jerked onto the manicured lawn and up the hill.

Several long horse trailers came into view, and the polo field, with its grandstands and line of picknicking spectators on the far side. We were on the players' side of the field, having circumnavigated the spectator parking lot (and person collecting admission). Since our exit through the fence remained blocked, we did what any proud Jersey folks would do: parked the car and acted like we own the place. We admired the horses and crossed the field before play began.

Once we had realized the V.I.P. nature of our parking spot, Ryan commented that our wrong turn had turned into a good turn. Since polo isn't exactly a sport one follows closely when she has no concept of the rules, I got a little philosophical over Ryan's comment. Life is full of wrong turns, whether accidental, intentional, or unavoidable. The one thing they have in common is that they can't be undone. Sometimes, it's possible to complete the Y turn and return to your original route. Other times not.

I will never stop wishing that cancer hadn't happened to us. But it can't be undone. We drove through that gate, and it locked behind us. And the place we found ourselves in was no manicured lawn at a posh club. But it has not been without unexpected positives, like the result of our wrong turn today. We have realized how blessed we are to have our family and friends. The experience has reaffirmed the importance of having Faith. It has given us a greater sense of purpose and focus. On wonderful days like today, I have to remind myself of these benefits, because other days are not so easy.

But today was one of those wonderful days, spent with four of our good friends, and Katelyn, who watched the game more closely than any of the adults. Some day, she will learn about wrong turns. In the mean time, divots are far more interesting.

Stomping divots like a pro

Our car is the red one in the distance, in its V.I.P. spot

Go Team! (Don't ask me which one.)

Nothing like a sunny day