Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making Plans

Tennessee Beach after a June rain

Lately I have been thinking about how so much of our lives deviates from our pre-planned course.

As children we were born with a road map that was written in pencil. Sketched out, a product of our circumstances. We are born to a certain expectation. Scripting I think they call it. I knew where exactly I was supposed to go at the intersections that presented themselves in my life. But for some people, even those born of the same stuff, when they reach an intersection where life is asking them to decide which route to take, they stand frozen, unable to move.

The choices, it seems, have too many consequences. "What if I take the wrong turn? What if I find a mountain in my way?" "If I take the right turn, everything will be wonderful and I will be happy" "But if right is wrong my life will be a disaster."

They may study this decision exhaustively. They may feel not ready to move ahead in their lives. They sit down, compare the alternate routes, and some, well some just give up. It is too much to ask to make such a momentous decision. Then the death of all progress, they compare themselves with others.

Meanwhile there are those who understand with each step taken the scenery will change. Even the most carefully designed lives will have unplanned detours. People come into and out of our lives we didn't expect. Illness of you or a loved one causes everything to change in an instant. The economy takes a nose dive. Disasters shake our design.

For those who are moving through their lives, they have accepted the concept that everything is always changing. On the horizon the world is a different place than where we stand. We will never see anything beyond our shadow if we stand still. We need to take a step. We need to venture forward. To not do so means missing the sunrise from the mountain top. It means never knowing what our lives have truly destined for us.

What happens if you take a wrong turn.

Well, it makes me think of the walk I took in Point Reyes. I found myself in the middle of a trail that led up and up, over muddy and washed out terrain. I found the climb beyond what I believed I could do. I asked myself on that walk whether I was up to the task. I thought of sliding back down the way I had come, but instinctively I knew the journey would have its reward. I focused on the step in front of me, not the unknown. I couldn't change what lay ahead. Putting one foot in front of the other is something I could control. When my body tighten up, I stretched until I was able to keep moving. I knew, so long as I kept moving, I would get to where I was supposed to be. I saw beauty along the way. I found pride in my persistence as I stood at the shore of the Pacific. My muscles reminded me for a week that I accomplished something I didn't believe I could do.

Whatever you are facing right now that feels overwhelming remember, you will find beauty on this path. You will find you can overcome anything. You can do this if you remember to keep moving. It is just one step after the other. One day at a time and soon, you will have found yourself just where you were meant to be. So put down your road map and start walking.

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