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Things I have learned - A change of plans

Today’s Wisdom: Well, you give me too much credit for foresight and planning. I haven’t got a clue what the hell I’m doing. Robert B. Parker

By Bill D. Ward

A few weeks ago, I was repairing some wiring in a taillight on my car. I had the big red plastic lens off and laying on the bumper while I was reconnecting some trailer wiring. Somehow I managed to bump the lens, resulting in it crashing to the concrete drive. When I picked it up, there was a nice new crack in the red lens thingy. The plan was to fix the wiring. Breaking the lens was not in the plan.


As first a police officer, and later as a health care administrator, I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands of situations where events developed that were not in the plan. I’m sure my presence at the side of their car was not in the plan of all the drivers I pulled over. Neither was my presence at the front door at 2 a.m. with a death message in the plans of a few people when they went to bed at night.


I have also had several good friends make wonderful retirement plans as couples. Travel, hobbies, even just peaceful evenings on the front porch lay ahead of them until one or the other got a really bad diagnosis. All of a sudden, the plan is changed.


One of the things I have learned is that we don’t always get to write our own story. Sometimes other factors outside our control change it. The outline of the book of our life turns out to be only a draft version.


We do, however, get to actually live our life story. It may not be the story we planned, but it is the story we have been dealt. Even then what is dealt is only the chapter headings, not the fine detail. That detail we live out by our own decisions. Are we kind, generous, fun, supportive or caring? Is our world better because we are in it? Will we be missed when we check out?


These parts of our story don’t change with a knock on the door, a visit to the doctor, or the red light in our rearview mirror. We own them and get to keep them. It is easy to lament about the stuff that changes plans. Sometimes those things hurt. In the end, though, I wonder if they will matter as much as the things we control. I’m just askin.’

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