The best laid plans

Chemo tomorrow (Tuesday). I still have a lingering cold so a part of me hopes that they cancel it. Who am I kidding –  most of me hopes that they cancel it. But I do appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts – they carry me through. Thank you!

I’m not sure how to plan for tomorrow, but I hold onto this thought: Some days work out even when they don’t work out according to plan.

The adventure begins when everything goes wrong.
–  from the movie 180 Degrees South

On the Monday before my last chemo treatment, I finished teaching religious education at our church and headed for the door with massive amounts of materials in my arms and my six-year-old son in tow.

A group of folks began setting up for the monthly church dinner, but I had other plans. I promised my older son that I would pick him up from swimming, and I looked forward to an amazing dinner at home. However, as friends filed into the church hall, my younger son lobbied to stay for the pasta and pizza dinner and to play with the other kids.

I, on the other hand, wanted to leave now, pick up my older son with a minimum of futzing, and go straight home. I didn’t want to swing back to get this younger one, no matter how fun it sounded for him.

By now, though, I risked being late for the swimming pick-up. When Deb generously offered to watch him, I rushed out of the church and into my car.

After loading everything into the car, I turned the key. It wouldn’t start. It wouldn’t even try to start.

After a brief moment of “okay, now what?,” I left messages for our sitter and my husband, hoping that one of them could pick up the swimmer and that my husband could come to jump-start the car.

It felt cold and dark both outside and inside the car, but when I lifted my head and looked through the car window, I noticed the warm lights shining through the windows of the church hall. With a surge of gratitude. I returned inside, joining my friends in their conversation and watching the kids run around. While it wasn’t the dinner I had been craving, we were warm and having fun with our friends.

Something spilled on the floor, and John, one of the husbands, took the lead in cleaning it up. I had seen him earlier as well, fixing a lock on a door while waiting to pick up one of his sons. Obviously a guy who can make things right.

“Hey, John, you do everything. Can you jump-start my car?” I was half-joking, but he answered me seriously.

“Sure. I have jumper cables in the car. Just let me know when you are ready.”

His wife looked at me. “You’re serious? Your car won’t start? You seem to be so relaxed about it.”

I don’t typically come across as relaxed so I spent a moment basking in this compliment.

Just then, Tiron called. He was back in cell range, had our swimming son with him and would be right over.

John and Tiron arrived simultaneously at my car and, between them, determined that the car would need to be towed. So, that was settled.

We gathered the boys just as the church dinner wound down, piled into Tiron’s car and headed for home. I felt strangely content.

Yes, we stayed at the church longer than I planned, our family didn’t have the dinner we anticipated and my car broke down….again.

On the flip side, I felt gifted that the car died in front a warm and welcoming place where we could eat a dinner that my kids really enjoyed with friends we don’t often get to see. I felt awe and amazement that someone was ready and willing to help us take care of the kids and someone else was ready and willing to help us with the car. And I felt lucky that I had the energy to flow with it all.

Throughout the evening’s events ran a calm assurance that every problem could be handled. The boys would be taken care of, food would appear, there would be time to visit and time to repair.

In my life, so many situations feel unresolved or outside my control. Having manageable problems and – this was huge – having others also believe these problems could be managed felt like basking in sunlight.

The evening didn’t go as I planned, but we received everything we needed in the exact moments we needed them. It was all perfect. Now I think I need a more reliable car….

I hope that you are finding that you get what you need in the moments you need it. That you are enjoying the longer hours of daylight, the friends who step in at just the right moment, and even a calm knowing that some problems can indeed be solved.


4 thoughts on “The best laid plans

  1. Wonderful story Marie! You’re learning “young” what it keeps taking me years and zillions of examples to appreciate: no blood on the floor, no big deal. And in your case, lots of bennies to boot! Glad it all came out OK. Currently in Sarasota until early March, but I’ll keep reading, chuckling and learning. Love to all, Charmi

    • Charmi, love the “young” comment! But you are a good role model. We talk about your examples (in a good way) often. Thank you for always being so open with us!
      So glad you are in Sarasota because it is COLD here right now! Thanks for being connected and we look forward to seeing you when the weather here warms up. Love that you do this!

  2. You are teaching me to slow down in my own life and recognize moments of beauty and gratitude that normally I’d blow right through and be on to the next thing. Thanks.

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