Setbacks may not be setbacks-- they may be detours on your journey during which you get to see scenery you otherwise would have missed-- nice scenery, lovely scenery, at times take-your-breath-away scenery, at times take-your-arrogance-away scenery, at times take-your-illusions-away scenery.
In any case, really, really great scenery, worth the extra time.
I backed the car out, paused to watch the garage door close, then glanced in the rear-view mirror-- with a start I saw Sophia grinning in the back seat.
"Good morning," she said, cheerfully.
"Ah, yes, morning," I managed. "How are you?"
"I am well," she said. "But busy. I don't have much time, today."
"Oh," I said, intending to sound disappointed, but not doing it convincingly.
She chuckled as I pulled into the street. "I enjoy seeing you even if you don't enjoy seeing me... and I know at times you do."
Which was true; I could always relax in the knowledge that no matter the circumstance, Sophia saw it as it was, clearly and without judgment.
"So?" I asked. "What is it today?"
"This latest suffering-- don't waste it."
I slowed for an intersection. Don't waste it? A new life development, with grief, physical and emotional pain. Waste it? "How would I waste it?" I asked.
"By failing to respect it. By being so into it that you blind yourself to what gifts it might offer you. Suffering is hard, of course, and hurts; don't make it worse by wasting it."
We drove a few blocks in silence before she said, "Drop me at the light, if you would."
I pulled off into a parking lot, stopped the car, turned in the seat and looked back at her. She continued, "I have been around a long time. In that time, I've experienced much loss. At times I wasted it, not waiting for it, not allowing it, not honoring it. The most painful of experiences can be the richest." She stared out the window, more with herself at the moment than with me.
"I'm sorry," I said.
She put one hand on my arm, the other on the door handle. "Just don't waste it," she said and exited the car.
As I merged back into morning traffic, I noticed my suffering sitting beside me in the passenger seat. "Ah, it's you," I said. "Fifteen minutes to the office. Tell me what's on your mind..."