Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life? Meet My Day.

I woke up with three simple goals for today:

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
Enter: Life
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.
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
2. Back to Project?
Enter: Life
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.
Enter: Life
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
Enter: Life
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.
Enter: Life
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
Enter: Life
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
Enter: Kids
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.
Enter: Life
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 Benson
Rather 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.


dietcokegrrl said...

I'm so glad you got your Trader Joe's fix!! HOORAY!

Lisa said...

What a great post and a positive reflection on what could have been a very frustrating day, as far as goal achievement.

Can't wait for those fall colors! A drive through the canyon sounds like heaven. And what a popular girl YOU are. I guess popularity will make you a girl interrupted some days, won't it?

(I don't mean popular like high school popular, it always has that connotation for me. Of course I just mean well-liked.)

Kateastrophe said...

So,um, this comment really has nothing to do with your post but what are the chances that the Mary you visit teach is Mary Morris? Have I ever mentioned that she's my Grandmother-in-law? (is that even a title? She's my husband's grandmother. Whatever that makes her.)

Kazzy said...

Frantic. I love it! It's like one of those mornings when you run to the market early, barely out of your pjs, and see everyone who lives on your street. Ugh! But the way it turned into a great day was cool! Thanks for the reminder to just let it roll sometimes...

Melanie J said...

Trader Joe's anything is a good way to improve on a day. Spicy hummus, Joe Joes, naan. Oh, happy day...

Great attitude. One of the little lessons life continues to teach me is that every time I think visiting teaching will be an obligation, it ends up being a blessing.

And it would rock if we each shook our Bennett family trees and some common ancestors fell out, but unless yours are from Louisiana, it might just be a fond wish. Our main line goes back to a guy named Thomas Turner Bennett out of Pennsylvania. Oh, and if you have a bunch of long-dead Bennetts with the middle name Winecup, then for sure we're related.


Hm. Now I kinda hope we do have another boy...

Heather of the EO said...

Amen sister.
Here's to not showering and being blessed for it! :)
all jokes aside, this is so true. Another lovely post from the lovely you that I love love love.

Cari said...

I love that you graphically design your posts.

You can't help it, can you? ;)

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

You are probably so sick of me saying "I love this post" to every single one of your post. BUT it's true! Each is so well thought through and put together so beautifully. You must be an artist :-) I like that you allow LIFE to interrupt your pre-planned day, because you have a beautiful rich life. I especially love the visiting teaching message so I copied and pasted it to my file so I can "steal" it from you and use for a good purpose I hope.

Jenny P. said...

What a fun time to have with your sweet dad. We had a bit of serendipity yesterday that got most of us to a visit at my mom's grave for her 5 yr mark. Trying to plan it out didn't work, but keeping open to possibilities did. A beautiful day. Also you have me so looking forward to Mondays for another Miss Havisham installment and I even know what happens!

Kimberly said...

Wow, what a day!

I love your perspective on it, and I love that you shove everything in the laundry room because I do the exact same thing!

Heidi Ashworth said...

I am especially impressed with the friend who brought you Trader Joes (one of my fav places) over the state line. You had so many people show up at your door in one day--I don't have that many show up in a month! They say you make your own luck--looks like you have!

brown-eyed girl said...

You are totally RAD! I love your stories and the way you embrace life and all that comes about! You Rock!!! XO

Jessica said...

oh my, what a day. You seem to very gracefully embrace it rather than fight it! A good reminder to me.

Hailey said...

Wow, I am amazed you have the energy for such a day! I would have stopped answering the door by the time noon rolled around! I'm so glad other people have lives that completely derail their "simple" plans. I LOVE the Nelson Mandela quote.

Nouveau Riche said...

Love that day. So true.

My husband still won't let the financial advisor come to the house. We've been meeting him in a coffee shop, which I think is extra work, for me to leave home to see him there. Of course, my husband doesn't want him to see how messy our living room is, and that our cheap rental house is very...quirky.

I would describe my financial advisor as you've described yours. Though I would have said, vaguely, 'he's a good guy.' Having a financial advisor is new to me, sometimes it freaks me out.

Anyway, thanks for mentioning your financial advisor, part of your real and busy life. It makes me feel more...normal.