This morning my youngest and I were at the bus stop waiting and she was digging through her purse. I think she was looking for her chap stick, or maybe it was a mirror. I don’t really know, but she was looking for something. After ruffling through her bag for a minute or two she said out loud, “Well, worst case scenario I’ll just dump my whole bag out when I get to school and find it then.”
That is when I, the old cynic, chimed in. I said, “Well, I can pretty much guarantee that the worst case scenario is exactly what you will have.”
She said, “Why is that?”
I said, “Murphy’s Law,” as if that ended the conversation. It did not.
“What is that, what is Murphy’s Law?” asked my 13 year old daughter.
“Well, Murphy’s law,” I said in a wise Obi Wan Kenobi voice, “is the adage that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. So if you think about having to go to the ‘worst case scenario’ then you probably will, so just get ready to dump your bag out. Just remember, that if things can fall apart, then they will fall apart. ”
She looked at me with her optimistic eyes and said, “What was his problem?” indicating that Murphy must have been a fairly miserable and pessimistic soul.
I started to give her another lecture on ‘the best laid plans of mice and men,’ and how people disappoint you and friends turn their their backs on you and sometimes people misunderstand what you mean and I was going to share years and years of pastoral experience where I’ve seen just about every negative, ugly, and mean-spirited human endeavor that can happen destroy all your hopes and dreams and watched Murphy’s Law play out time and time again–if it can go wrong, it will go wrong.
But I didn’t. I looked at the optimism of 13 years old so I looked at her and said, “Yeah, what was Murphy’s problem anyway?”