Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." The famous line, translated to current English from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," is expertly explained on as meaning:

"No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it."

As I learned this summer, God always has better plans. (That Freewill Reunion led to the bun in my oven!)

However, often times it sucks when our best laid plans falter. Rarely is it due to anything we did wrong or planned poorly. Sometimes, our plans just fail. Unfair as it may be, sometimes that is just the way it is. There is no rational justification - there is only 20/20 hindsight that maps the choices that led us to this disappointing moment. Unfortunately, hindsight is a tricky bastard that can lead us awry! We need to be careful that hindsight does not lead us to regret perfectly awesome decisions that just somehow did not work out in the end.

It sucks to watch a loved one's best laid plans falter. Especially when you can see that it was not due to poor decisions or faulty planning. It is just one of those unfair shitty life moments. It sucks to be helpless to fix it. It sucks to be only able to say, "Wow. That sucks." Especially when it is someone you really love who truly had perfect plans and some outside force just swoops in and goes Katrina all over their lives. Especially when it is someone you really love who is a really good planner who had really great plans that just spontaneously combusted and the remains have the potential to cause irreversible physical, emotional and spiritual damage on peoples' lives.

How do you lovingly encourage someone through that without sounding like you are down-playing it or worse yet, overreacting? How do you help someone without sounding like you are being condescending or even worse, pitying them? How do you shrug it off and lament with them, all the while encouraging them to find a better solution than the present - knowing full-well that the PERFECT plan is no longer an option? How do you guide a heartbroken individual to a place where they not only accept the hand they have so rudely been dealt but actually convince them to embrace it with doe-eyed optimism, mindful excitement and even curiousity?

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