Welcome to Holland
By Carol Turkngton
You are planning a vacation to Italy. You're all excited. You get a whole bunch of guidebooks, you learn a few phrases so you can get around, and then it comes time to pack your bags and head for the airport.
Only when you land, the flight attendant says, "Welcome to Holland". You look at one another in disbelief and shock, saying, "Holland? What are you talking about? I signed up for Italy." But they explain that there's been a change of plan, that you've landed in Holland and you must stay there.
"But I don't know anything about Holland" you say. "I don't want to stay".
But stay you do. You go out and buys some new guide books, you learn some new phrases and you meet people you never knew existed. The important thing is that you are not in a slum full of pestilence and famine. You are simply in a different place than you had planned. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy, but after you've been here a little while and you've had a chance to catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.
But everyone else you know is busy coming and going from Italy. They are all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life, you'll say, "yes, that's what I had planned."
The pain of this loss will never go away because the loss of that plan is a very, very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't go to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.