What To Do When You Are On Plan N

Sure it’s one thing to go to Plan “B”, when Plan “A” doesn’t work, but I figure about now, my life is working on Plan “N”. That’s fine, I suppose, but it just goes to show that I’m either a lousy planner or life just keeps throwing me curve balls.

September continues to be a very down month in my life lately. Three years ago I witnessed the sad events of September 11. Two years ago I lost my grandfather and last year I lost my aunt and shortly after a cousin, also. This September has been a bit of a downer, too. Adriene and I had planned a 30th birthday cruise with both my parents and her parents and some of our closest friends. It was to be a “changing of eras” party as we bid farewell to one phase of my life and begun another. Hurricane Frances came along and ruined all those plans. I’m not going to bemoan the canceling of the cruise too much because it’s ridiculous of me to ask for pity when people lost their homes and lost their lives from this storm. (This also induces some self loathing on my part for being so selfish about dwelling on my problems in light of these circumstances. There’s just nothing good about all of this.)

Anyhow, all of this has sent us spinning in another direction and changed all of our plans. We had everything all laid out nicely for the immediate future, but now we’re a little lost about where to go next. I’m sure we’ll do something to celebrate my birthday, but it’s just a little strange having to conjure up plans at the last minute for the occasion. Furthermore, our outlook for the next couple of months is all muddied and confusing now. I felt like I knew what direction God was going to carry me in, but now, once again, it’s all murky and hard to discern. When I was younger, I might have called this “exciting”, but maybe I’m just feeling old, because I don’t like it now. I should know better by now to draw up detailed plans for the future when God is going to do what He does regardless of whatever I plan. Yet, I still do it.

Adriene and I enjoyed this weekend somewhere in rural Georgia under the stars at a wedding and watching two lives merge into one. We sat back and laughed as grandparents looked on admiringly at their children. Parents sighing with relief and glad to see their children venture out on their own. Friends of the groom and bride sharing jokes, laughing, dancing, and creating stories they will share for years to come. Young children darting in and around the dance floor and squealing in laughter. All of them with plans in their minds. How many are on Plan A? B? C, D, or E? All of this almost overwhelmed me. I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this stuff I’m writing.

So, here we are, the autumnal equinox has passed and it’s time again for the days to start getting shorter. The Darkest Night of the Year now approaches as the pendulum swings the other way. Even in uncertain times at least there’s some certainty. Our plans (ha ha) are to celebrate Christmas in Nashville with some new friends, Lord willing, but if He doesn’t will it, something incredible will happen as this year burns down somehow I’m sure.

Jeff Holland, 9/26/2004