© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
Think of the top 3 disappointing events you’ve had in life. Maybe you were in a relationship you believed in, and suddenly it was over. How about the time you had your heart set on a job, you knew you were the prime candidate, and you didn’t get it? Then there was that friend who suddenly cut you off, with a weird reason or no reason. Remember how much that hurt?
Enter, the Pinball Machine Theory of Life.
Sometimes, it’s like you are the ball on a pinball game board. After the token goes into the machine, and the spring launcher is pulled and released, the ball zips up the slope of the game board. Sometimes, like the pinball, you are racing up the board of life thinking you are definitely headed in a certain direction. The right direction, surely. Then you get hit with a flipper. Ow! For a moment, you don’t even know what your new direction is, right? You’re just reverberating with the impact of the flipper (ow!), feeling the pain, and trying to get your bearings again. Then you begin collecting yourself, look up, and see what unintended direction you are now headed in. Yikes! This is a new direction! Not what the plan was!
Now let’s talk about that major relationship change. Grammy-Award winning musician Garth Brooks has a powerful song called, “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers.” In the song, he tells of being at a football game with his wife and seeing the woman he dated in high school. Back then, he used to pray for that relationship every night. By the time he saw his old flame again, he realized he would not be in the amazing relationship he was in with his wife, had the relationship with his old flame worked out. So now he is massively grateful for the passing of that old relationship. He was redirected on the Pinball Machine of Life, and now he is deeply glad.
Now, that perfect job you didn’t get—what changes would that have created in your life? Changes that would have prevented something great that then did happen? Here’s an example from this writer’s life: 20 years ago, she flew to Denver for a pre-hiring interview with an international company. Having done projects with the CEO of the Colorado Division, she knew it was only a matter of negotiating the position and salary. In Denver, she scoped out where to rent an apartment and what moving arrangements would be involved. But when she called the man who was to interview her, he said he would call back in 20 minutes and never did. He never managed to meet with her during the 5 days she was there. When the CEO asked how her conversations with the interviewer went, she told him they never even met. The CEO said, “but I thought it was a pre-hiring interview?’ She said, “yes, I thought so, too.” She never heard from the company again. It was a bitter disappointment that hurt for many months. Now, however, she sees that she would never have met and married her husband, had she been given the job in Denver. She was redirected for a powerful reason.
As to a friend who suddenly cut you off, let’s put it in perspective and then give thanks. Recently, a client was suddenly dropped as a friend because she declined a vacuum cleaner demonstration. That’s right. She politely declined an emailed request, due to an extreme work schedule. Also, she did not know the friend-of-a-friend-of a friend that she would be helping by giving 2 hours for a demonstration of a product she could not afford. The inviter then sent an attack email, assaulting the client’s integrity and spirituality. The client called the inviter’s wife to ask if she felt the same way. The wife said she would call back. Immediately the inviter emailed the client again, nastily saying she must not go behind his back to talk to his wife, and best she not contact either of them again. Did the client really want to be friends with people who would go ballistic over small matters? Reconsidering a number of past hints of the nature of these “friends”, the client sadly let these friendships go. Since, she has come to be glad they are no longer in her life. Now she has more time for more compatible friends. She was redirected for powerful reasons.
If you are a person of faith, remember this timeless truth [Romans 8:28]: “We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him…” When the flippers hit you, you are being directed for powerful purposes, by a wisdom greater than our own. Do your best to deal with the hurt. Then embrace the new opportunities that are arriving. Be the happy and grateful pinball.
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