Have you needed to change your plans lately? It happens, doesn’t it?
Take the other day for instance. I had my morning nicely planned. Or so I thought! I had to leave home at 11.30 on Monday morning to accompany my son for an appointment which was far from home. I was glad I had several hours to myself before I was scheduled to leave. My plan was to leave home after a long, lovely, restful morning with God and his Word. I looked forward to it.
Didn’t quite work out like that. For a start – it had been well past 1.30 a.m. when I went to sleep the previous night. (Tut. Tut. Anusha!) And so, I got up later than planned – a little after 8 a.m. To my delight, I discovered that the tail end of the Olympic Closing Ceremony was being aired on TV. I couldn’t resist watching it while making our breakfasts and lunches. At 9 a.m. I was still wandering around our home in my skimpy nightdress (and yes, it was far too cold for that) – whereas on most days, I’d have donned my clothes as I'd got up. But you see, I didn’t want to leave the kitchen (and the TV) lest the closing ceremony ended while I was dressing.
My time with God? Change of plans 1!
It didn’t happen for several hours. No sooner had the Closing ceremony ended than a friend called asking if I had a certain DVD she needed. I got busy seeing to her request. A phone call to my son; a hunt for the DVD; several phone calls back and forth with my friend; checking of bus time tables – to work out how I could get the DVD to her and a million other things grabbed my attention.
And so it went on. More urgent phone calls. A few necessary emails. I gobbled down a late breaky at 11 a.m. I reached the bus stand, windblown and breathless at 11.30 a.m. And what of my time with God? It didn’t happen at home. My time with God happened on the bus. A lovely long bus ride on the O bahn and a lovely long time with God. Thank you, Father God.
Usually, when Asela and I travel to get to this particular appointment – we manage to work out a lunch stop as we travelled. A cute little park nestles very close to our destination. We’d go to this spot – sit on a wooden bench and enjoy our lunch together with companiable, quiet conversation – while birds sang, the grass grew sweetly under our feet and the trees whispered secrets to each other. It was the perfect place for a stopover. I was looking forward to it that day. But did it happen? No!
As I neared the city, my son called frantically. His morning hadn’t gone as planned either. The result was that he missed his bus. Oh… oh!
Change of plans 2: Our lunch time rendezvous!
I now had more than half an hour to spend in the city before he arrived. So I didn’t get down at my bus halt. Instead, I got off two bus halts later. I walked to a Food Court, pulled out my lunch box and sat on a stool and ate my lunch. Alone.
As I finished my nice warm lunch, my husband called to see how we were faring. I told him the latest development - that Asela had missed his bus.
Change of Plans 3: Method of Getting from A to B.
My thoughtful, generous husband offered to take Asela and me to our appointment. (“Bless his socks off”, as my friend Janet would say!) As I left the food court, I walked to my right instead of to my left as I’d have originally done. (Yep! Another change of plans!) I walked and walked and walked. (‘Ouch’ to my poor aching feet)! I finally reached the car park! It turned out that it was a very good thing that Shan took us by car that day. Asela’s bus came in very late – and by the time Asela arrived, we had missed all three possible buses we could have taken. (Bravo then, to the Gallant Knight to who rode to our rescue!)
After our appointment – Asela and I had planned a little detour to refresh ourselves. I was to catch up with my friend in the City to give her the DVD she asked for. I promised Asela that I’d treat him and my friend to something delectable from "Muffin Break". Asela’s eyes lit up at that, (and my own insides smiled in agreement)!
Change of Plans 4: Muffin Break
Asela’s appointment went on later than planned. And so we missed our bus. We got later than planned. When we finally connected with my friend and gave her the DVD, (thankfully that plan went all right!) – she said she didn’t want to come in for a bite after all. So the three of us didn’t pow wow over a cuppa and cake at Muffin break as I had planned. We said our goodbyes, then Asela and I waltzed into a food court, made our purchases – and ran off to catch our bus. I spooned a few mouthfuls of chocolate mousse cake into my mouth while standing at the bus stop. Mmmm! Delicious. Asela resolutely kept his cheese and spinach roll till after we got home.
A day bursting with changed plans. But guess what? The final destination was reached. We did come home tired but happy at the end of our adventures.
Are you familiar with my story? Life’s plans change all the time don’t they? Sometimes more times in a day than you expect or desire. If you are like me – you wouldn’t want to have your plans changed. I like to have my day ordered. I like to follow routine. I like to have life turn out predictably.
Mental health experts tell us that our mental well being is impacted by our attitude to change. Life is always filled with the unexpected. Don’t you think? How do I go on with the many surprising and sometimes painful changes life brings my way? How in fact do I learn to dance in the rain?
Four years ago, during a fun-filled day we spent at Disneyland, I learnt something special about life. I had discovered that the way to enjoy the rides at Disneyland was simple!
Cling on tight to the handlebars and then to go with the flow!
How much fun it was! Heaps of wholesome enjoyment despite the surprises and shocks a ride sometimes brought my way! I think that making the most of life should follow that same principle. Of course there are times we should NOT go with the flow, I agree. I am not referring to those times. There are certain situations which warrant us to take a firm stand against the flow. Times when we should grapple with life and do what we need to in order to change a changeable situation. But there are other times when fighting against circumstances will not accomplish anything. When it's wise and sensible to accept the inevitable and to go with the flow!
And so…. as I face changes in my life – changes in my plans – changes in my relationships - changes in every season – I know what I need to do.
Cling on tightly to God, and then go with the flow.
Plan to enjoy all of life, especially the unexpected moments!
Sometimes I am surprised. At other times I am energised. Sometimes my eyes are wide open. Sometimes they are shut tight. Sometimes I am joyful. Sometimes I am cautious. Sometimes I am exhilarated. Sometimes I am wind-blown. Sometimes I am soaked to the skin! Always, I can enjoy the changes while clinging onto a God who is unchangeable and sure.
May you enjoy your rollercoaster ride through life, with a God who never changes. A God who will always hold you close, as you trust wholly in Him!