Not long ago a friend asked me, how long do you spend writing your blog posts? Fifteen minutes?
Ouch. Um, well. Not quite fifteen minutes. . . I attempted to avoid the question because, truthfully, I spend way longer than that. Way, way longer. In all honesty, on most nights I’m not sure what I’m going to write about until my laptop sits on my lap and I begin pounding away on the keyboard. As my mind begins to wind down with the click-click-click sound of the lettered keys, my thoughts become clearer and blog entries unfold.
Unfold. It’s a word that I have been tossing around in my mind lately. A word that I am learning to embrace. A word that, quite frankly, I’m learning to love.
Ten years ago Chad and I attended a six week professional training course for the field we were in. During that time we had to develop a ten year plan. We had to lay out, specifically, where we hoped to see ourselves in ten years. . .
What will you be doing? Where will you be living? What will surround you? How will you be spending your time?
These were just some of the questions we were to consider as we developed our ten year plan. I don’t remember all the details, but I’ll tell you one thing. . . our plan didn’t include this. . .
This. . .
Or this. . .
I’m sure in the deep recesses of our basement the large 3-ring binder that contains the golden plan for our “perfect” life can be found. In it you would see that we planned to be living on the West Coast (specifically, Colorado) and out our kitchen window would contain a breath-taking view of the mountains. I was going to work alongside Chad as he devoted his life to helping teenagers. In my spare time I would be training for all the marathons I would be doing–one in each state, to be exact. Certainly, one day, I would be running in the Olympic Trials. The plan will also tell you that Chad and I would be world travelers, footloose and fancy-free. Our family would be the kids we devoted our lives to. . . none of them blood, of course. Oh, and kids? They aren’t for us.
That’s what our plan will tell you.
Oh, how differently our life has unfolded. I would have never imagined that the bloom of a spring flower would send me into a frenzy of excitement. Or that the abundant white clouds against the back drop of a bright blue sky would captivate me like the sight of an vast mountain range. But you know what?
I’m not sure what happened or how it happened, but somehow what I thought would be the “perfect” life changed. The change wasn’t intentional. . . it was very subtle. One step, led to the next, led to the next. It wasn’t step one to step ten. . . it was step one to step two.
It was an unfolding.
What I thought I wanted. . . was not what I wanted at all. What I got. . . is so much better.
The girl that sat in that conference room and recorded her ten year plan believed life was about accomplishment and accolades. That girl could have never predicted that filling a bucket of sidewalk chalk and making a driveway a canvas is as fulfilling at completing a 20 mile run.
Ten years ago, no one could have convinced me that anything but my “perfect” plan would have been ideal. I had to live it to know it and let me tell you something. . . as life has unfolded, I know it.
Tonight after dinner, just as the sun was beginning to set, we decided to take a quick trip to one of our favorite spots.
As I stood back and took in the scene of our little family I couldn’t imagine anywhere else I would want to be. I felt such contentment. At the edge of our little town, I watched as Charlie and Chanelle ran from this spot to that one as if there was no place more exciting in the entire world.
I watched as Chad crouched low with our Littlest in his hands and I couldn’t imagine a more perfect scenario.
Ten years later, I see the mountains of Colorado have nothing on the ducks of Ohio.
Truly, I am a huge believer in the importance of goals and dreams and plans, but I guess over the years I’ve come to understand that even the most “perfect” plans need to be bendable. For me, understanding that I don’t have to have everything all figured out has been very freeing. I no longer feel a need for a ten year plan, because I’m finding such fulfillment and joy in the present. . . in being right where I am.
Being a Momma to Charlie, Chanelle, and Meadow is such an exciting venture. Not only do I get to watch and participate in the unfolding of my own life, but I get to watch as their lives unfold, too. What an enormous privilege it is to stand back and watch the ebbs and flows of their lives, their passion, and their dreams until they come to that place where they can breathe deep with the knowledge that they are right where they need to be.
Ultimately, I believe that the unfolding of life is one of life’s greatest gifts. . . like a great surprise around every corner. Over time I have learned and continue to learn that life is really about riding the waves, trusting your gut, and really. . . enjoying the ride.