Monday, January 22, 2018

Five Minute Friday (or is it Monday?): INTENTIONAL




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There's a kind of irony in the fact that I'm writing my Five Minute Friday post (about the word INTENTIONAL) three days late. I intended to do it earlier; really I did. But somehow it just didn't happen. The nice thing is, the FMF linkup stays up for several days, so there's almost always time to join in even if you're late.

Today school buses were cancelled because freezing rain was forecast to begin in the afternoon. This is the third no-bus day so far this school year. Last year, there were about a half dozen no-bus days -- most of them Tuesdays, for some odd reason.

Sometimes, as happened today, Jonathan's Educational Assistant will contact us and suggest that we drive Jonathan to school instead so that they can still do something together. Today, they went to the Y for a swim. Other times, if the weather is really bad or the EA isn't coming in, we just keep Jonathan home all day. 

I remember last year the entire month of January felt very provisional: anything I might have planned was subject to whether Jonathan would have school. And this January feels much the same. I didn't have much on my agenda today, so driving him to school, picking him up at noon, and keeping him home for the rest of the day wasn't a big deal. 

But sometimes I've made plans for the day and a change in the school schedule forces me to rearrange them. I suppose this is true for many parents of school-aged kids. (Jonathan's 15, but he can't be home on his own if there's no school.) In winter in particular, there's never any guarantee that the buses will run. Bad weather or an ominous forecast or sickness can mean I have to cancel a coffee date, reschedule an appointment, or whatever. It's like I'm writing my life in pencil instead of in pen because I know I may suddenly have to change direction, in spite of my intentions.

As I thought about this, I recalled a passage from the book of James in the Bible. I memorized James in the King James Version way back when I was in my teens, and while I've forgotten some of the exact wording, I remember the gist of the verses: they're reminding us not to get too arrogant about our plans to do such-and-such, because we never know what tomorrow's going to bring. The Message paraphrase puts it this way:

"And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, 'Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.' You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, 'If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.' " (James 4:13-15)

"Nothing but a wisp of fog" -- ouch. It's humbling to realize that in spite of all our intentions, we really don't know what's going to happen. There are so many things we can't control. 

So I guess I'd better keep writing my plans in pencil and try to accept changes graciously, because I can only see a short distance ahead on the path of life.









8 comments:

  1. Snow days can get old fast if there are way too many of them. I'm glad his assistant still does stuff with him when there is no school. I'm in the 4 spot this week.

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    1. Hi Tara, and there are no buses again today!! Argh. Oh well, now I have to preach this to myself again today, don't I? Thanks for coming by today.

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  2. I've learned that often the fear of something is worst than the reality. I've found myself, in the past, anxious about school, sports schedules, etc. But if I write it in pencil, willing to accept the change in tide...this new perspective leaves me with peace.

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    1. Yes, I agree. I tend to be a worrier and spend a lot of time ruminating about how things are going to go and whether such & such is going to work out etc. It's a huge challenge for me to just go with the flow. Thanks for reading and commenting today!

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  3. I'm a control freak/chronic worrier, so I try to remind myself of your point by saying "Lord willin' if the creek don't rise" when someone asks me about my plans. If we're honest with ourselves, so much of our lives is lived in pencil!

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    1. I've heard that expression too! In the Reformed tradition (my husband's background, and mine for a number of years), they'd say "I'm going to such & such tomorrow, D.V." which means the same thing: Deo Volente, or Lord willing. Thanks for being here today, Brooke!

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  4. "writing my life in pencil instead of in pen" - that's a phrase I need to keep close, Jeannie. Trying to fill in life's blanks as if I knew what';s coming next is fruitless.

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    1. It's ridiculous that we even try, but we do. Thanks for commenting, Tim, and also for sharing my post.

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