Want to Hear God Laugh?

Tell him your plans.

i’ve been thinking about planning, which is our attempt to make sense of the world, and possibly change the future.

In the most common usage, planning is really quite easy. We plan to get up in the morning, and remarkably, we actually do that. But is this really planning? Plan not to wake up and see how successful you are! A lot of “our planning” isn’t really ours at all.

Even the concept of the approaching morning is beyond our ability to plan. Clearly we have parameters that we must work within.

Some things are the result of someone else’s plan. If you are married you may have experienced this. One evening you suddenly realize that you are in the car, dressed in some of your finer clothes, and you are heading to someone’s house (who you barely know) for a “get together”. You obviously remember talking about the “get together”. You don’t remember deciding to go to the “get together”. It is only now that you are in the car that you realize that plans were made and the future is just up ahead, and around the corner. You are in some else’s plan.

In my attempt to be a good and wise parent, I have offered to my children several phrases for them to ponder in their future life. One that comes to mind… “if you don’t have a plan for your life, because nature abhors a vacuum, some one else will provide one for you. And you will end up living some one else’s life.”

This sounds very wise. I hope they remember it.

We are constantly being bombarded with folks who are perfectly willing to plan for us. Isn’t all advertising an eventual plan for us to open our wallets to purchase an item? A television preview is a thinly veiled plan for you to put yourself in front of the television at a certain time, a certain day, and a certain channel. All that is required is for us to agree. Technically agreement makes the plan ours. But is this true?

I recall an old card trick where the magician offers choices. We keep choosing, he keeps offering. Eventually he produces the right card and we are amazed. Was it our plan? Or did the magician only offer the choices of his plan?

Going back to my adage, how much of my life is the result of my plans? On an average day, how much of the occurrences are truly my plans. This has altered a great deal since I retired. Going to work was sorta my plan, but ultimately it is the plan of my employer. I don’t go to work anymore so there is a vacuum to plan for.

That’s a lot of time to consider. 40 hours per week is a lot of vacuum. So far I haven’t replaced even 50% of the time with my plans. The good thing is that no else has stepped in to offer their plans. There is the potential, “Hey, since you’re retired, do you think you could…?” But I mostly avoid this by not answering the phone.

My wife will sometimes ask, “Do you want to go to the store to pick up some milk?” I respond that “it had never occurred to me, so, I guess no I don’t want to.” Obviously I will go, once I make a plan.

My final thought about planning is that I haven’t been very good about stepping up to “my plans.” It’s too exhausting, too challenging, and simply too difficult. I slide quite comfortably into the plans of others.

I tell myself that because I choose to do this then the plans are mine. It’s a lie. I’m just slothful.