1. Work out. (This implies showering afterward.)
2. Finish a Design Project. (The client is waiting!)
3. Spiffy up the house. (Before the financial planner guy gets here at 7:30 p.m.)
Completely do-able. Right?
Here's what happened when my simple plan encountered real life:
1. Gym: Check. (shower pending)
2. Project: Under way
I ran up to the office and started working on the design project. Then the doorbell rang. Oops! I forgot I was going visiting teaching this morning. So I ran out the door, still in my workout clothes and messy hair, to see our friend Mary.
2. Project: Interrupted
Despite my panic over my appearance, we had a fantastic visit, and talked all about discovering and pursuing our eternal potential. I brought up this favorite quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.2. Back to Project?
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
– Nelson Mandela
1994 Inaugural Speech
Next my cute dad showed up -- it seemed like he just magically appeared in our driveway somehow. Actually he was magically delivered there by the GMC shuttle service. It turns out Dad had hit a deer with his car a couple of nights ago. He now has his car in the repair shop, and needed a ride back up the canyon to his house.
2. Project: On hold.
I fixed Dad and me a quick lunch, and drove him home. AND we had a wonderful drive up the canyon, with the autumn leaves in full splendor -- to the point that they literally took my breath away -- all the wonderful reds, yellows, and oranges sprinkled among the varied greens -- it was a GORGEOUS drive, and my dad and I had a great talk. I love him! Days don't get much better than this.
2. Project in progress. Enter: Kids
And by mid-afternoon, sweats and messy hair are rapidly becoming the fashion statement du jour. BUT I'm feeling rejuvenated. And there's still plenty of time.
As soon as I get home I run back into the office. Start to crank on the project. Making good headway. But then, one by one, the kids all come home from school.
2. Office hours: Officially Over
Now it's snack time and homework time around the kitchen table. Nothing like little microwave cakes as a study incentive! Just as Mr. Cool gets to the last math problem, the doorbell rings. I assume it's a neighbor dropping off something for church. I make a quick mental note of my progress.
1. Gym: Check. (shower deferred)
2. Project: Now relegated to graveyard shift.
3. House: Moderate Mess.
At this point I probably smell even worse than I look. Hopefully Mr. Cool could just collect whatever it was at the door and I wouldn't have to show my face.... Instead it turned out to be an old friend from Pasadena. A really wonderful dear artist-friend who has been a mentor and father-figure for me for about the last ten years. Of course I dropped everything. And we had a fabulous visit together, a deep, connecting conversation on a wide range of topics. He showed me some of his recent work, and, knowing some of the brutal things they've been through in the past few years, I got all choked up and teary-eyed as I saw the amazing beauty that has emerged from those harrowing trials.
3. House: Not spiffy
Then I scurry through the house frantically putting away anything out of place.
The phone rings -- another friend from out-of-town has just appeared in our driveway.
This was a short visit -- delivering a small carload of groceries from Trader Joe's. And can I just say? It's not your average friend who will go shopping for you, big time, and then entice her adorable husband to haul the loot across state lines! This is better than Christmas! More hugs, more chats, a wave goodbye--
3. House: Still not too spiffy
I contemplate unloading the dishwasher. Ah, but one kid just got home with a new computer that needs to be set up, another kid needs a ride to cub scouts...C'est la vie!
1. Throw in the towel on showering.
2. Graveyards are fun, right?
3. Time to shove everything else in the laundry room and close the door.
And then the financial planner guy shows up. He seems not to mind the unkempt house or the unkempt person he's talking to. He's bright and engaging, pragmatic and straightforward, realistic yet optimistic...and I think everyone should have such an asset in their cadre of experts. There is now a semblance of order in one area of our lives.
At the end of the day it occurs to me that the things I had planned were important and good. But what was unexpectedly sent my way (you can just call me "Girl, Interrupted") was infinitely better and more rewarding than anything I had scheduled. It reminded me of this quote: "Life is what happens to you while you're planning something else." And especially this one:
Yes, men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. --Ezra Taft BensonRather than feeling frustrated, today showed me what can happen in just one day when I'm willing to choose the better part and turn my life over to Him. At the end of the day (even though we're still way behind on everything) I feel abundantly rich.