Staying Flexible

Sometimes all the best-laid plans don’t work out. I’d flown from Colorado to Washington to spend a few days visiting a good friend I’ve known since we were roommates in college. We’d hoped to go for walks in the woods, strolls on the beach, photo safaris to some local scenic hotspots. Instead, as I write this, I’m lying on her couch with a 100-degree fever, a stuffy nose and a throbbing headache.

I’d feel even worse if I thought I’d given my germs to her family, but it’s pretty obvious the sharing went in the other direction. I’d hoped to avoid the flu that her husband and kids were down with, but all the hand-washing and tea-drinking were to no avail. I got sick anyway.

Realizing that circumstances are now out of my control is the first step to coping with our change in expectations. And, in spite of the aching and coughing, I’m beginning to see some silver linings.

For one thing, we’re spending more time talking and less time doing. That’s a good thing. While I was happily anticipating all the excursions, the main reason I’d come was to catch up with my friend. Now we have plenty of time for that.

Since she still has a job to go to, errands to run, and a family to care for, I’ve had quite a bit of alone time. Life has been pretty hectic lately, so I’m cherishing the opportunity to read, pray, and just plain think. There aren’t a lot of distractions when you’re lying on a couch all day.

Being sick is a good reminder that I’m not in control of my life. One of the most important life lessons I’ve had to learn (mostly the hard way) is to remain flexible. It’s OK to make plans, but don’t chisel them in granite. God has ways of turning our plans on their heads. Since He has the advantage of being God, I’ll trade my plans for His any day. At least I will once I get over my tantrum.

Finally, because I’m here rather than at home, I’m not exposing Pete to my germs. Of course I miss him a lot, but the last thing he needs is the flu. Everyone here has already recovered from their bouts, so they are currently immune. It’s one less thing to be concerned about.

I can’t claim to enjoy being sick, but I don’t want to miss the blessings even in the midst of the flu.

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