I love to plan stuff. In fact, sometimes I enjoy the planning more than the actual event. The anticipation is exciting—like the thrill I felt as a kid, waiting for Christmas.
I’ll admit, I also enjoy planning and organizing things because it gives me the sense that I’m in control. Of course, I know better, but organizing lets me pretend for a while. And the more life throws me a curve ball, the more planning and organizing I do.
In the last week, I’ve cleaned out three closets and two bathrooms, filling two huge bags with those little soaps and shampoos you get in hotels. (They’re going to our local homeless shelter.) I alphabetized my (local) daughter’s spice rack. My socks are now in rainbow-color order, with the boot socks on one side of the drawer and the anklets on the other. My husband’s underwear is once again neatly folded. His blue sweaters are in one drawer, and the gray ones are in another. Our house is cleaner than it’s been in ages.
In fact, I spent so much time sitting on the ground and sorting piles that my arms and back ache. Why am I doing this to myself? Because God has posted a large sign with flashing neon letters right in front of me: “Leslie is not in control.”
You see, our daughter and her husband are expecting another baby. Soon. Very soon. Or not so soon.
Most babies have a due date, and more often than not they arrive within a week or two of that date. However, our first granddaughter was five weeks early, and the “experts” have decreed that this one is also likely to arrive ahead of schedule—but they aren’t sure how much ahead. So, instead of a due date, our daughter has a due two months.
Try making plans when you know you could have your baby at any time—for week after week after week.
Now add in the fact that we live in Colorado and they live in Washington. That’s a two- to three-day drive (we’re driving because we’re hauling a trailer full of my late father’s furniture out to them). To top it all off, Pete is speaking at a conference in California in the middle of the “baby arrival” period.
Of course, we don’t have to go to Washington. The other grandparents live nearby, and they’ll be pitching in as well. But there’s something about one’s daughter having a baby that triggers all sorts of dormant parental instincts. We can’t wait to go entertain our toddler granddaughter, clean house, make meals, and do all those things that grandparents do for their kids at times like this.
So, I keep rearranging the what-if’s. What if the baby comes this weekend? What if it’s next weekend? What if she’s full term and doesn’t arrive until next month? If we wait around home until the baby is actually born, can we get to Washington in time for Pete to drive to California? If we leave in time for his conference and the baby hasn’t arrived yet, what will I do in Washington while waiting for the birth? If he flies to California, can I drive the trailer out there by myself? When do we schedule our house sitter to come? And what can I make for dinner considering the empty state of our cleaned-out refrigerator?
It’s maddening, and totally unproductive. We’ve analyzed the possibilities until we’re dizzy, but the truth is we just don’t have enough information to plan much of anything. We’re not in control.
The problem is that, while I can’t control the future, I still feel responsible. Somehow, I’ve gotten it into my head that it’s up to me to make everything work out—that I have to correctly guess what the optimal departure date is, ahead of time. And if we end up with too much time, or not enough time, or it snows and we spend several days holed up in a motel en route—it’s all my fault.
Which is ridiculous.
I’m not in control—and I’m not responsible for how things work out.
You know, writing it all down in a blog post helps. Maybe I can trust God with this one, too.