Monday, January 23, 2012

no plan - still subject to change

Lately I've been writing a lot of emails that include this sentence:  "We're not sure if we can do that. Can we wait and see once the date is MUCH closer?"  

Day to day life here is too unpredictable to confidently make plans more than a day or two in advance. Even then, the plan you go to bed with for the coming day is rarely the way the coming day ends up looking. 

Back in the day I used to spend much more time doing longer-range planning and making commitments into the distant future.

We've learned slowly during our time here that long range planning and scheming isn't a healthy thing for us. (Read: Haiti beat us over the head and forced that teaching against our will.)

We have found we're most effective and most content when we live in today and think a little bit about tomorrow and even less about next week.  We've almost completely stopped worrying about our long range plans.  Other than knowing that if we can swing it we hope to help Paige settle into college and be nearby and available to her for a few months, we have zero in the way of "long range" plans.

The earthquake taught us a lot.  First of all, it taught us what is a really horrible situation and what is not.  It gave us a brand new perspective on many things. It taught us that we truly don't know jack about tomorrow  - so getting all puffed up about our big plans might be a bit of folly.

Things can change fast, and they do.  I don't like that truth, but it didn't call and ask my permission to be so.

We're not here to say "do it this way, our way is better" - not at all. We barely know what we're doing. We are experts of exactly nothing.  

It just has us thinking.... Our home culture teaches us to be incredibly schedule and time and future-plan aware. If you walk into an interview without your five year plan memorized and ready to recite passionately you'll likely walk out without a job offer. I mean everybody has a five year plan, right?

There probably isn't anything wrong with that, I only think that sometimes it gives a false sense of control and it makes it harder to fully be in the here and now. 

(Or we have major personality flaws and only we experience a false sense of control. That also seems quite probable.)

Ultimately none of us know what could shake (quite literally) our lives tomorrow completely changing our course. We don't know if we're going to be waking up and sucking air tomorrow.

I'm finding - The less attached to my plans I am, the more flexible and accepting I can be of whatever good or bad comes my way. There is some wacked-out paradox wherein the more I live in this moment, the  more I live in this day, the more I trust God with the next.

When asked how long we plan to be in Haiti, we shrug and throw our hands in the air. We don't claim to know. Some folks find that a flaky and odd response.
Living mostly uncertain of our plans for the future allows us to live in this moment fully.  It works for us.  If we don't know what tomorrow holds, how can we possibly know about 2014?  

We are certain of the one thing that matters.  God walks with us each step of the way.

I get the sense that careful planning is more a part of culture than anything else. Do you feel that excessive long range planning creates a problem with control in your life or is that only something fools (like us) struggle with? 

Matthew 6:34

New King James Version (NKJV)
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.