11 October 2010

Middle Name's Flexible

I was a latchkey kid as far back as I can remember.  I grew up with 2 older sisters, and we were raised by a single mother << there's a special place in heaven for single moms >>.  Weeknights were filled with dinners in the car, soccer practice, softball practice, swim practice, karate, ballet-- and a speedy little 4-door red Honda Civic with a luggage rack that served as chariot to our chauffeur and her minions.

We gave our Mom a keychain early on with that title on it- CHAUFFEUR.  She was a faithful, thoughtful, sleepy little chauffeur.  She worked her tail off to provide for us.  Growing up I never realized that we probably were living in poverty.  I don't *think* we ever had government assistance.  Mom was able to make ends meet with her full-time job and the child support that came in.  I remember eating for breakfast the next day what I had not finished from dinner the night before.  I always wore my older sisters' hand-me-downs.  And my hand-me-downs were then passed to my plethora of younger girl cousins.  We were a family of sharing and abundance, even in our situation.  I don't ever recall having to "do without".  Maybe I did, in fact, do without.  But it never *felt* that way.

Growing up I have to admit. Life was good.  I always felt loved.  We were taught to take turns.  On the way to summer camp, it was always a discussion as to who would ride in the front seat.  Typically we'd take turns; however, occasionally one sister would turn to the other and say they didn't want to be near me <<the youngest>>, thus I'd better move my tail to the front seat.  I remember learning to share.  And plans constantly changed with 3 very active girls.

Somewhere along the line, I started to believe in my own head that I had control of my life.  I could make plans and then follow through with them.  I could make choices that would lead to natural, predictable consequences.

And then I heard a really good joke, on or about March 14th, 2004, shared with me by my friend Sarah.

Sarah: Jess, What's the quickest way to make God laugh?

Jess: Um... I'm not sure.

Sarah: Make your own plans.

Jess:  << quiet AHA moment >>  ...pause... 
hahahaha!  << deeper AHA moment >>

And everything changed.

I can make my own plans, sure.  I plan out my day on a regular basis.  I rely on my Outlook calendar to tell me where I need to be 15 minutes before I need to be there.  My husband consults me when someone wants to make plans with us through him-- I'm the calendar in the relationship.  Occasionally I feel like my droid is the "other man".  Sometimes at night as we're dozing off to sleep, I'll recite, out loud to my husband, the activities I have scheduled for the next day.  He usually mumbles something before rolling over and going right back to sleep.

Sometimes I feel like all I do is plan.

And then when plans change, it's hard to unravel myself from what I *thought* was coming down the pike.

But I've learned that getting all bent out of shape is so. not. worth. it.

Example 1. It was gently raining at 6:45 on a recent Thursday morning when I was going to the gym to workout with my trainer. I arrived to his (private) gym only to find that the power is off (had been for a while-- in fact the whole neighborhood for as far as you could see was in the dark).  So my trainer hops out of his truck to tell me that we'll re-schedule.  Hrrrmpf.  I really wanted to work out.  Disappointed, I decided that my Plan B was to drive back to my regular gym for a workout.  A little bit annoyed (but knowing that things weren't in either of our hands to control or fix), I headed out.  A mile down the road the power was on, so I called my trainer to tell him.  I'm yappin' away at him until I realize he sounded kind of ticked.  Evidently when he got out of the truck to tell me we'd re-schedule, he'd locked his keys inside, engine on.  He wound up breaking into his own flippin' truck.

Example 1 Lesson Learned.  I was flexible about the plans needing to change at the very last minute.  To boot, my trainer had to deal with unnecessary crap, which made my wee little inconvenience seem like a cake walk next to my trainer having to burglarize himself.

Example 2.  We have a group of young adults that gathers on Monday nights for Bible Study.  Oftentimes we meet at our house.  And sometimes we do, in fact, read the Bible.  Other times we might watch a movie, video, or short clip to prompt our conversation.  Or throw a Simpson's Birthday Party.
There are occasions when nobody comes.  Or maybe 2 others come-- plus me and the hubs, that's a small crowd, if you ask me.  Twice when we've had slim pickins in attendance, I've gotten all bent out of shape over it.
Thoughts to self have been known to include:
"Why aren't people coming?... 
Is our house too small?... 
Are our discussion boring?... 
Do our snacks suck?...
What am I doing wrong?"  

When the pity party ends and I'm finally able to move on quickly, with just 4 we're often able to dig deeper or share more with one another.  Sometimes we just laugh harder.

Example 2 Lesson Learned:  My expectations are sometimes the source of my frustration, because life happens and plans change.

My middle name at birth reads LYNN.
My middle name on my driver's license reads HANSEN.
My middle name in spirit is FLEXIBLE.

No comments:

Post a Comment