On my personal Facebook page, I have done my best to post something to be thankful for everyday since January 1, 2014, when I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer for the second time. These thankfulness reflections truly helped me to stay as focused as possible on the positives during a really rough 7 months of my life. I thought I would share this one with you all because maybe, just maybe you will find a little encouragement in it. Blessings to you, big time.
Day 300: November 9, 2014
Thankfulness for Plans Not Working
I saw this picture today representing plans. It really struck a chord with me. Anyone who has lived a life open to whatever the Universe has in store for them will totally get it. And actually, ANY human will understand this, regardless of your life’s views.
I could make a Santa Clause list, starting when I was probably three-years-old, of all of the plans I made that absolutely did not work. One particular juvenile plan I had was when I was 5. I had the perfect scheme. The goal was to play longer with my neighbor Kelley Thomas, so I set my rusty but fast red Schwinn bike by the back porch door, waiting for my mom to fall asleep during our nap time, snuck out, and hightailed it over to her place. My plan worked! I played and played. Of course I didn’t see past the initial plan and didn’t make plans to get back home before Mom woke up. Let me tell you, I have never been spanked so hard in all my life… all the way home to my house. Being a parent myself, I’ll bet she was scared crapless, so I don’t blame her for tanning my hide. I can say with honesty that I never snuck out of the house as a teenager because of that episode. It taught me a valuable lesson.
Plans are great, until they don’t work. And looking back on all those plans, I’m so glad they didn’t. I wouldn’t be who I am today if they had worked.
I am pretty happy with how things turned out despite the fact that I made plans and tried to force things to happen. I actually can include in those things to be thankful for that my ex came out of the closet. Took me a long while to get there, but I really am thankful for it now.
So why do we even make plans, then? What is it that is so important about them when they probably won’t go as we have in our mind that they should? Should we just sit around and be led by some sort of spirit that will move us from place to place, making things happen without any effort on our part? I would love it if that were the case. Being open like that is pretty cool when it works out.
Some people would say that our plans are finite and God’s are often different than what we think we need or should be doing. I’m not necessary calling complete B.S. on that, because I think there’s more to it. I don’t like the trite saying that well-meaning people often say: There’s a reason this happened. It isn’t that easy to accept, Man. My spouse is gay and I’m supposed to be okay with that? Don’t patronize me, okay? You aren’t living it and I don’t want to accept it. It’s just too much!
Plans often have to do with expectations, and while expectations aren’t inherently bad, they sure can lead to hurt, disappointment and even anger. Expectations are often coupled with control, or at least our perception of control that we think we have, and so when plans fail, especially big ones, our world crumbles. Are we actually angry at that person for ruining our expectations, or are we truly just disappointed that things aren’t going our way?
I’m thinking about big and little things here. Big things like marriage without ever experiencing divorce or betrayal, or education we receive because heck, we are going to have that dream job, that doesn’t pan out in reality. We strive, we toil, we put in sweat equity, and then things might crumble anyway. As far as the little things, I often make plans to get out of the door on time to get kids to school and get to work, and then something comes up to throw a wrench in those perfectly laid plans. I always planned to win a basketball game, but sometimes we lost. Tears were shed, anger was felt, blaming occurred, but it is a reality because losing is never the plan.
But we need to make plans. Otherwise we’d all be a bunch of lazy slugs all the time, waiting for something to come to us in some miraculous way. We prep, we practice, we perfect skills, yet we still don’t see the plans come to fruition sometimes.
This is why we need to have larger life goals about our inner selves. When we compare plans working out or not to our hearts and ultimately our souls, plans can fail and we can trust that perhaps there may be a reason we will only understand in the future.
So, I keep my Inner Emily in mind when I make plans, and I keep my expectations in check as best as I can. I focus on the things I actually can control, accept the things I can’t, and seek the wisdom I need to evaluate the difference between the two.
And when I look at this graph, I see that the second image of how plans actually look in the scheme of things is a lot more interesting and even beautiful. I like the swirls, turns, twists and notice that in the end, it is still raising toward the goal of my Inner Emily, which is to live life, love life and impact others.
I hope you make plans, but are open to them changing if they will make you a stronger, more loving, more living and more impacting person toward others. Because then, and only then, can you really know that the plans you made played a part in that, regardless if they work out or not.
Love, The Life Event Planner