I often feel like so much of my life has happened by accident, by chance. I talk to many people who’ve planned for everything, while for me, it just hasn’t been like that. I mean, these people know they are going to homeschool before their children are even born! Before they’re even MARRIED! I didn’t even get to LIVE with my husband for a while after I married him (thank you, US military)! Maybe I’m just feeling a “grass is greener” sort of thing- in other words, I only think that others have things figured out while I feel like I’m wandering through life like Mr. Magoo… Lucky them if they do- my life sure hasn’t allowed me to get so comfortable, that’s for sure. We seem to be constantly living by surprise! As in, surprise! You are going back to New Mexico with your infant daughter, even though you just moved to the Gulf Coast (thank you again, US military)!
But here’s what I mean. I never set out to join the military. I stumbled into it when I wasn’t hired by my first choice in career directions. Of course, then I met the Pilot, which was obviously meant to be. I only have to look at my amazing little family to know that. Also, I never set out to homeschool. In fact, I’d say it never actually even crossed my mind until my daughter was in the first grade. And even then it took a mighty shove to get us to make the leap, which we didn’t even do till 4 years later when my son was struggling. Okay, yes, I see it. This was obviously meant to be as well- I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We set out last year, thinking we were meant to relocate to the West, and yet it was so, so wrong for us and here we are now, in a community back in the Atlanta area that we absolutely love. We couldn’t have planned it better if we’d tried. And we did try, and yet, it seems that this was meant to be as well, this thing so opposite of what we thought was going to happen.
So here’s the latest example of our living by surprise: My daughter and I have stumbled into a last minute trip to London and Paris. How in the world does that happen, you ask? Well, the school the kids attend one day a week had a trip for the high schoolers planned that had a few cancellations and they needed someone to take the spots who isn’t affected by last-minute airfare (we excel at last minute airfare, thanks to the Pilot). And so, my girl and I are off this Friday to London for about a week, followed by a few days in Paris. I still haven’t quite wrapped my brain around this fact. Of course, since we only decided to go a few days ago, I suppose being in a bit of shock is to be expected.
And do you know what the best part of this particular surprise is? The things we are going to be visiting and seeing in England all tie in with the history that she and I have been working on this entire past semester. I wrote last month about how incredibly our trip to Alcatraz had worked out for us, having just read a book about Alcatraz and all. Well, I think that this one is going to work out even better. Talk about an educational experience- read history, then go see the history.
I couldn’t have planned this one better if I’d tried, either.
Now, it’s not that we’re not planners, or that we don’t at least attempt to plan. We do, we genuinely do. Or at least I do. I don’t think the Pilot is upset by our wanderings at all. For me, however, there is a certain level of stress that comes with things being up in the air so often, which leads me to my envy of others whose lives seems so calm and ordered, so well-thought out. Our jaunt out west, for example, led to a roaring case of shingles for me, on my face, no less. Obviously the stress of it all does indeed get to me sometimes.
Of course, there’s the chance that I am only imagining that others lives are tidier than mine. Or perhaps the lesson here is one in trust. Truly, I couldn’t have planned so many things that have happened to me in my life better than they have worked out. And for all that disorderly, chaotic, messy, delightful, stressful fun, I am truly grateful.
As Robert Burns put it, the best laid schemes of mice and men do often go awry. But here’s where I don’t entirely agree with Mr. Burns: It doesn’t always lead to grief and pain.
Sometimes, it leads to joy.