In the beginning of August the government agency for whom Nate works told him he'd had two weeks of training at the end of the month for which he'd need to be in D.C.. We made hurried plans for a road-trip, some driving routes were discussed so I could go too, a ticket was purchased, I let the folks at home in New York I'd be there for almost two weeks. I rarely get truly excited about anything until the thing itself is a reality right in front of me, but I had the quiet rumblings of joy at the unexpected trip. Then, as suddenly as the trip was planned, Nate came home and quietly told me the plans changed and he'd no longer have to go right then.
I felt so disappointed and sad. You know the feeling? The kind of sadness you can feel in your throat and maybe your stomach and certainly your heart. I didn't want to be sad because it wasn't Nate's fault and yet he would be the one who would see that sadness up close. But I was still sad. It was a good reminder, for me, that we can make plans but our hope has to be squarely on God.
A few weeks later Nate came home again with some more news: another training trip was needed and this one would be closer to home (for me), and during peak week. The last days of September and the first days of October make up peak week in upstate New York, where I'm from. The leaves are brilliant in their array of color and the weather is usually crisp and dramatic, dark skies with brilliant glinting sunshine, billowing clouds. Autumn is my favorite season and these weeks of beauty are its capstone.
In two days he and I will begin our long trek eastward, splitting our time between upstate and D.C.. We have 67 hours of driving, a flight, a passel of books on Audible, plans with friends made, and a few spots booked along the route. We are leaving our sweet pup with friends and our home in the care of our housemate (Did you know we have a housemate this year? We do! He's an intern at our church and we thank God for the gift of him every day.).
This is nothing more than to say that many times our plans go awry. In fact most times they do. I can't think of a single plan I made when I was 20 that has been actualized, except maybe my English degree. Most of my life has been one fumble after another into surprising circumstances, sometimes painful ones, but usually ones I find myself grateful for in the end. I would not have written the story God had for me and I wonder if there are many of you who are saying, or would say (or will say), the same for you. I think most of us find it to be true.
Here are some things I've read in the past week or so that I enjoyed and you might too:
The Body and the Earth, by Wendell Berry
Some Kind of Calling, by Pam Houston
The Parable of the Lost Pointer, by Karen Swallow Prior