I had this day planned: I’ve already taken off from work, knew what time I would wake up (4am) and even knew snippets of what would be included in my blog post that day. Problem is this day arrived a week early, in the middle of class. So I am left to ask what happens when we have an early arrival?

There I was sitting in class listening to the lecture. I began to feel a pain in my chest. I started jotting down little notes in the margins of the page in hopes of identifying what I was feeling. Was it all the recent events happening outside of school? Was it a very recent and odd encounter with a classmate? Was it that we just took a quiz and I was ambivalent about my preparation and how well I did? My mind kept spooling as the tears began to fill my eyes.  I immediately thought to myself “oh no, not here … anywhere but here and surely not now!” I got up, went to the restroom: quick cry and deep breaths. It is happening right here and right now …. I am grieving. I am feeling a deep, desperate pain. I am mourning. Back to class and I am struggling to hold back tears for the rest of our session. On to chapel. And there I am as we sing This is a Day of New Beginning. How fitting for the occasion. Our speaker then talked about what I consider to be a very sacred and incredibly profound ritual that he engages in each year: writing a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Note to self: I think that’s a great idea; I will begin writing my own annual letter to my special person. The soloist gets up to sing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” and I think I am going to lose it. We proceed to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and I can barely see the people around me because my eyes are so full. By the time we clasp hands and sing “We Shall Overcome” I am done. Or undone.

After many hugs and brief words of encouragement as my peers and classmates hustle along and after one incredibly personal and timely conversation, I am in a room with over 20 other women all gathered in this space to encourage each other and to pray. As our leader guides us in prayer, I hear sniffles, moans and cries all across the room. In that very moment – instigated by the aforementioned conversation – I am reminded that although the finite details of our lives may differ, we are inextricably connected on so many other levels.

As I sat in my Buddhism class, the lecture meant something different to me today. Mindfulness. Peace. Inner peace – yes, I am searching for inner peace in this moment. And after class when my classmate led me to a private room so that she could pray with and for me I began to reflect on the day’s occurrences. How everything – every person in close proximity, the lecture, the speaker, the hymn, the songs, my prayer partner – was all very timely. Very appropriate. Very necessary for THIS day. So then I am left to ask what happens when we consider some thing, someone, some event … an early arrival when it or they really are right on time.

To Carter