I am the “Queen of Plan B.” I pride myself on being flexible, being able to drop whatever I am doing if something more important presents itself. Something more important could mean responding to a serious health crisis of a loved one, or changing gears when something fun presents itself and I want to be included.
Over the past month, I have had a lot of practice with this way of approaching life. Despite being busy already, our son calls to ask if I can help him select a ring and be a part of his engagement plans and of course, I drop everything else.
The night after the engagement, my husband and I are practicing how to be couch potatoes in our sweatpants, trying to recover from all the fun. Within one hour after a call from our daughter’s boyfriend asking if he can stop by, we throw on some descent clothes and listen to his plans for proposing as well.
Two engagements, six days apart and weddings being planned five weeks apart – not what we had planned but exciting highlights of life just the same!
The day before Thanksgiving I put the last pie in the oven, moments later I receive a call from the nurse at the residential home where my mom has her own apartment. Mom is having dizzy spells and they are concerned. The pie comes out of the oven, the dog is put in his crate and Plan B develops quickly. Four hours later, I continue my cooking and we are giving thanks that mom is okay.
Since my husband Jeff and I have experienced the tragic death of our first spouses, both very young when they died, we have learned that life never goes as planned. It can throw you curve balls, derail your plans or carry you into places that were even better than before.
That is why I am struck when I find these words of Saint Teresa of Avila in my devotional book…
“When you look back at your footprints in the sand,
what do you see?
A straight line, where everything has gone
according to plan?
Or a labyrinth of change,
a mandala of unanticipated endings
and new beginnings, a messy,
glorious, riot of real life?”
I laugh reading this, for I have a messy riot of a real life. It has been full of unexpected endings that have scarred me for life, but it also has been full of glorious blessings that have brought me great joy.
During this season of Thanks and Preparation, I give thanks for being the “Queen of Plan B.” I look at my footprints and see the crooked path that is forever changing.
I pray that as you travel the “riot of your real life,” that you stay alert, live in the NOW and in all things give thanks.