Off the tracks

I’m not sure how people have their five year plans, let alone ten or twenty year plans. I mean how the heck do they know where their life is going to lead them in that time? Either they have some preternatural vision of what is going to happen or they have walled themselves into a strict calendar, untouchable by actual life.

The thing is, we are never even guaranteed tomorrow. Yet, we make plans like life is a surety. Oh, I suppose it is impossible to live all of life without moving beyond the present. But I guess the extent to which people do and the rigidity of their plans is what I find so very… odd. Then again, I realize more and more (not that I didn’t know already) that it is me who is the odd one.

On the tracks of life, my car has been derailed many times so it seems absurd that it doesn’t happen to others. It is funny. When I got done with high school, I had planned on being an engineer or doctor. But then, I couldn’t go directly to college due to health problems. And then I ended up at a church. Then theological school. And now, I am an English major. And I thank God every day for this path.

I have learned so much from those derailings. I have changed so much from them. I seem to change (in good ways) from year to year. My mind and heart are always seeking to grow stronger, wiser, wilder. Wilder in the sense of my mind that I more freely speak my mind. Wilder in the sense of my heart in that I have given my heart free reign to love others, to help others, at the cost of much sorrow. The heart gives of itself at the expense of itself. And that is a cross I find worth bearing for the sake of others.

I have learned that life is often found in the derailing of our plans. I have had my life touched in ways that I can not fathom living without. I have touched lives that would never have been touched. In the terms of worldly wealth, worldly wisdom, I have nothing. I have received no tangible payoff, no “value”, from these moments. But if I have changed just one life, showed one heart the love of God, I guess I don’t need anything else.

I am done trying to stay on the tracks. I’m done trying to plan my life. I let go of needing the perfect rails for the perfect life. The perfect life isn’t found in our plans but the in-between. Every moment has something to teach us, especially the unplanned ones. Treasure them. And perhaps you will see that life is better off the tracks.

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