This application process for Son Number 1’s Irish passport, I assured myself, was going to be a doddle. For one thing, most of it was done online. I took the photo of my son myself on my smart phone. I uploaded it online, I paid online. The only non-digital thing I needed to do was get the school principal to sign a document. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

But once again a spanner appeared in the works. (The last time I went through the passport application process for Son No 2 I ended up posting the documents to the Angolan Embassy in Pretoria instead of the Irish Embassy. The howl that came out of me when I realised what I’d done was unearthly.) The principal signed the document three times and I thought it was in the bag. And then…

While trying to follow the thread of hubby’s conversation after supper, kids safely asleep, I began signing the document. And then I signed it twice – where I was meant to sign as Guardian 1 and where he was meant to sign as Guardian 2. Aargh! Another howl of dismay. Much muttering and uttering and battling with despair.

Okay, okay – I consoled myself. All is not lost. I’d reprint the document and get the principal to sign it again. I’d populate all the fields myself so he wouldn’t have to do it himself (hubby’s clever suggestion). Then the principal fell ill and couldn’t sign the document. And because I’d populated all the fields (why did I listen to my husband?), the vice-principal couldn’t sign the document. So now I’m stuck. I guess I’ll have to reprint the document and start all over again.

I’m the kind of person who likes things to be finished quickly and neatly. These unfinished projects are lessons – painful lessons – for me. Firstly, I’m realising more and more that I cannot accomplish anything without God’s grace. I’m a fool if I think I can do it on my own – the truth is, I can’t. I rely soley on His grace which sustains me and is sufficient for me. If I get anything right, it’s because of His grace. And if I get it wrong, it’s okay because of His grace.

And the second lesson I’m learning is that life is full of unfinished projects and loops that aren’t closed. Cognitive closure is wonderful, but I can’t keep waiting for things to be finalised before I start feeling happy – whether it’s a book that needs to be finished, a document that needs to be signed or an adoption process that needs to be formalised. Life is messy and many things will remain incomplete for some time – days, weeks, months or years. But that’s okay because I am complete. I am whole in Him.

And I’m not going to put off happiness till another day when everything has worked out and life is sunnyside up. Frustrations, delays, challenges, step aside, please. Happiness will start today.