Expect the Unexpected

Jeanie's stuff at All American StorageI feel compelled to relay a story that happened last year about this time. It involves me, my daughter, Tina, and a friend of hers, Jeanie. I’m sure that the scenario isn’t all that unusual, however, the unexpected solution was a pleasant surprise and a lifesaver! Read on and enjoy my story of procrastination, hopelessness, and epiphany.

Both girls attend Texas Tech University, and the academic year was about to end. My daughter lives in the dorm, but her friend lives in an apartment not too far from campus. It’s not the best place to live, but for a ‘poor’ college girl, it was what was affordable. Most students were cramming, planning summer jobs or internships, among other things. Although finals are no fun, the students all seemed happy that the summer was almost upon them – except for Jeanie. She seemed more stressed than most, and didn’t have that look of happy expectations that comes with being almost done with a semester.

Tina didn’t badger her about it and just assumed it was the stress of finals. But even as finals were done and Jeanie had a nice summer internship lined up, she still seemed bothered, so Tina asked what was wrong. She asked just in the nick of time. Jeanie had not paid the last two months rent on her apartment, and was going to be evicted the next day. The problem – Jeanie had no relatives close by, no car, very little money. She literally had nowhere to go and nowhere to put her belongings. She was afraid she would lose everything that she couldn’t carry away on her bike.

The kicker was that it was 7:00 pm, and the eviction was in the morning. Tina called to try to find a storage facility that was still open, and called me to bring the truck and trailer to help. I thought it would be no problem. We’ll just load up her stuff in my trailer and take it to the storage place first thing in the morning.

Wow, was I wrong. She had been living there for three years and had so much stuff that we couldn’t fit it all in one trip. In fact, it would take a least three trips. Now I was getting bothered. My daughter was determined to get her moved, and Jeanie was literally crying, pacing around her apartment, not sure what to take and what to leave. We weren’t having any luck with any self-storage rentals either. It was starting to appear helpless. We sat down at the kitchen table that would soon not be hers any more and did one last Google search for self storage facilities. To our astonishment, we found one that not only was open 24 hours (they all pretty much are), it had a self-serve station that let you rent a storage space anytime, day or night, 24 hours a day at a kiosk on-site. Halleluiah! We raced over there, and sure enough, were able to rent a storage space and gain access right away, even though the office had closed for the day.

Through the rest of the night, we moved her stuff out of her apartment, filling the storage space to the brim. We finished just before dawn, so I took us to a nearby Denny’s for some coffee and a nice big breakfast. We were all exhausted, but that easygoing smile that Jeanie was known for had returned. I could tell my daughter was so proud of me for being there for her friend. And I got a much-needed workout. All in all, it was a win-win for us all.

How Small We Are – How Little We Know

The Milky Way GalaxyAs we look up to the sky at night and see all the stars that are light-years away from us, it hits home how small we are. A child might look up at a stately oak tree and be amazed at how big and strong it is. As young adults taking our first airline trip, we’re in awe of the earth’s size as we gaze out the window mid-flight. As we get older, we become more acclimated to the way things are, and they cease to amaze us any longer. But every now and then, we notice something that drives home the point again –  ‘we are so small’.

We only know what we can experience, so even the most well traveled, life-experienced person only knows what exists on our planet. We have no knowledge of anything outside of our own little world. Which begs the question – how much is there to learn? A famous philosopher once said “the more I learn, the less I think that I know.” The universe is so vast – even just our solar system is more than the mind can comprehend. Astronomers’ active imaginations help to put the universe on our level, in terms of what we know, but what if outside of our little box, the rules are different? Are the distant galaxies functioning on the same physical rules as we experience on earth? Astronomers state that the universe is expanding, but expanding into what? What is beyond the universe? Just a void?

But there’s really not much point in trying to understand what we can’t find the answer to. For us, the universe, its untold mysteries and unending marvels, simply exist to humble us, to put into perspective our miniscule, microscopic contribution that our life will amount to in the grand scheme of things.

Though small and insignificant on a universal scale, we still have vital overpowering importance. Our children depend upon us, look up to us, even worship us as mightily powerful beings that provide for them. As they grow up, they begin to realize what we as adults have known for a while – we are tiny.

So it’s a matter of perspective. To an ant, a mouse looks big. But to a lion, a mouse is a tiny morsel – barely an amuse-bouche, if you will. If you are feeling down and unimportant, help someone in need or look to a child to realize that you are important. If you are full of yourself, look to the sky to understand that everything you ever accomplish or earn will amount to nothing in comparison to the universe.