People make mistakes, whether the misstep or bad judgment was big or small, human beings are inclined to make them. I’ve made quite a few. As I’ve grown older and hopefully, wiser, I’ve learned not all of our bad decisions are mistakes. By that I mean, the road we decide to travel at the time wasn’t a wrong turn at all. Destiny made us tread a certain path, perhaps, to fulfill a purpose.
For a long time I thought the biggest mistake in my life was deciding to take a job in a sock factory. Not even seventeen at the time and from a poor family, I needed money for college, and during the time, factory work paid good money. Instead of moving to a dorm when my classmates were leaving home to attend school, I decided for various reasons to stay at the factory, not realizing what I was doing to my future. It would take a few years for it to sink in, and along with it came regret, an intense regret.
Why did I consider it my biggest mistake? Well, for one thing, the cost to correct it was huge, not just monetarily, but also in the time away from my family. The time to attend classes, most of them at night, work on group projects, study, do homework, do research and write papers, and take exams. Money went to tuition, books, and gas for the car, not vacations. I lagged behind my classmates, especially in the technology classes. Working twice as hard and considered half as good was my new norm.
Despite all of that and a bit more, I no longer consider the decision I made in 1978 a mistake—a detour, yes, but not a mistake. Here’s why. My years in a sock factory taught me a lot one can’t learn in a college class. Many of the people I knew then I treasure now. Reconnecting with them on social media is a blessing. Some of my friends from my sock boarding days have passed away, and I miss them terribly. My life is richer because they were my friends.
Making the transition from blue-collar to white-collar was not easy, not in the slightest, and I’ve encountered people who tried to use it against me in my career. I once had a conversation in which I said there wasn’t much difference between office workers and plant floor workers. The supposedly educated preacher said he didn’t agree, stating emphatically, “Oh yes there is.” We obviously weren’t looking at the two groups in the same way. Character and integrity don’t come from textbooks and no professor can teach them. These qualities are no respecter of backgrounds.
Some people who travel down a wrong road meet their bashert.
What is a bashert?
According to Torch, “Bashert is a Yiddish word that means “destiny”. It is often used in the context of one’s divinely predestined spouse or soulmate. It can also be used to express the seeming destiny of an auspicious or important event, friendship, or happening. In modern usage, Jewish singles will say that they are looking for their bashert, meaning they are looking for that person who will complement them perfectly, and whom they will complement perfectly.”
I’m not Jewish, but yep, that’s what happened in my journey. Why do I feel that way?
Well, it is unlikely I would’ve met my husband had he and I not worked in the same factory. He was older, a divorced father, and he lived on the other side of the county. His friends weren’t in my circle of friends. Our paths would never have crossed had we not worked in the same factory. I worked on several different sock-boarding machines, and he fixed those machines when they broke down. Over time we became friends, then one day after his divorce became final, he asked me for a date. It was a surprise, and after several requests, I said yes.
We were an unlikely pair. Nearly two decades separated our ages, he liked Country, especially Waylon Jennings, Conway Twitty and several others. I like The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Creedence Clearwater Revival, just to name a few. He was a parent already, and I was still living at home. We stood out in a crowd in a lot of respects. Despite the differences and the typical problems in marriage, we made it work. Only death could separate us. Destiny? Meant to be? He was my bashert.
Regret can eat us alive if we dwell on past mistakes. We all stumble and fall, and we wish we’d made better choices. Instead, think about what you learned through the experience and the people you met travelling down that road. Often, it’s only when we reach the other side of the mistake or after we go through hard times that we see the purpose in it. And sometimes we meet our bashert along the way.
© Dee Hardy | Encouraging the Discouraged, 2015. All rights reserved