There is nothing like a vacation to give practice in adjustment. Adjustment is sometimes described as trees bending rather than breaking. Adjustment means that although there is a plan, circumstances that interfere with that plan are sure to happen, and how adept we are at adjustment can make a big difference in our level of stress.
Last week we found ourselves facing a delay in catching a train back from New York to Chicago. At first we understood that a mechanical issue was going to cause a two-hour delay. There really was no place close to get food, other than vending machines, so we decided that probably a pizza delivery service would come to the station. That was adjustment. Shortly after eating a not-so-delicious meatball sub, the announcement came over the PA (a tree had fallen on the tracks) that it would be another two hours before the train would arrive, pushing the time of departure up to 3 am. There was mild grumbling among the forty or so passengers waiting, but most people by that time had found their electronic devices or some other way to wait. When the announcement came that there was yet another delay, real adjustment began to happen. There simply was no other choice,
Some of us found the long rows of chairs were suitable for lying down with coats and blankets, and we “settled in.” A heavy rain started outside, and after a while, we stopped getting up every time we heard a train whistle, only to find it was yet another freight train. Eventually the train arrived around 4 am and we felt lucky to have a sleeper car to crash for the long 12-hour trip to Chicago. Of course, we did not realize yet that we would not be making our Chicago connection and would be spending the night at a hotel provided by Amtrak.
There is a peace that settles in when you realize that circumstances are out of your control. It turned out that the evening in Chicago was another chance to be with family, and after a few phone calls to home readjusting our schedules for the next day, we left feeling refreshed for the last leg of the trip. Many things, really, are out of our control. Adjustment is the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer: May I find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Life gives us a chance, every day, in small things and in large things, to figure out the difference and to make our adjustments with more grace and less stress.