Consider yourself surprised if I ever offer to wake up at 5:15 in the morning to go anywhere at all with you—and that includes out of a burning building. But on a recent trip with coworkers to Beavers Bend State Park, I volunteered to help our photographer, Lori, shoot the state park lodge at sunrise.
I don't know what insanity prompted this ruddy volunteerism, but there we were, the sun peeking up over the Ouachitas, the lodge bathed in light, Lori clicking away. We'd chartered a boat and a pilot to take us out to the perfect spot to get our shots, and Lori was getting them while I breathed in the fresh air off the lake, watched the fish jump to catch early-morning bugs, reminded myself to be intentional about getting into nature, and wondered how I could move to the Beavers Bend area and still work a job that's four hours away.
As Lori finished up, the pilot turned the key and—fumes. The engine coughed, sputtered, and refused to turn over. We were out of gas. Red-faced, he radioed his boss to come give us a rescue while profusely apologizing.
"No worries here," I said. "This is a perfect morning."
I put my feet up and continued shooting the sunrise with my little camera phone. I took deep bucketful breaths of the pine-scented air and grinned like a happy idiot, which I was in that moment. Eventually the boss man showed up with a can of gas and some cross looks for our pilot; I wanted to tell him the guy deserved a raise—or at least not to get his chops busted later.
So here's a reminder for you: In the middle of what feels like a big failure, you might be accidentally giving someone exactly what they need.