When Understanding Isn't Enough
Two weeks ago I wrote about the things I had learned living in a trailer house the last five years. Among the things listed was taking extra care to keep the incoming water line to the house from freezing during cold weather. Between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, even with all our precautions in place, the water to our house froze. With temperatures reaching as low as -13° there was nothing we could have done to stop it. Not only did our water freeze in the short stretch from the ground up to the house but also in our utility connection pit, 3 ½ feet underground.
Sometimes all the preparation in the world is still not enough. Even the best of plans still can’t have a 100% chance of success. The forces of nature are not to be trifled with and life is a game where the rules change by the second. The day will come that plan A goes awry, plan B is bad, plan C collapses, and plan D never even reached development. But when that day is over, what then? Do you sit back and feel bad for your misfortune? Do you get mad because life isn’t fair? Do you cry and hope that someone comes to save you?
There is no right answer. To be completely honest I have done all those things in response to the failure of my plans at some point and time in my life. And do you know where those answers got me? Absolutely nowhere. How one responds to crisis or failure is usually a reflection of how often someone has been in that situation before. Not to say that someone who has no experience can not make good decisions under duress or that people who have experience won’t make mistakes when put in the same situation again. I am just trying to say that doing nothing is going to result in nothing. If life knocks you down, stand up and make a new plan. Hopefully, a plan that is better than the one that laid you low in the first place. But if not, just try again. To quote my favorite Disney movie, Meet the Robinsons, Keep Moving Forward. As long as you are still alive you have not lost yet and have a chance to try again.
When Erin woke me up to tell me the pipes were frozen on Sunday, my immediate response was frustration. “Why us? Why today?” Why, why, why?!” But as soon as I got myself calmed down, the whys quickly became hows. How did this happen and how can we prevent it from getting worse? How can we make do until we can get our water back? How can we solve this problem that in the long run of our life is going to be a minor inconvenience? After a few days of hauling water home from work to flush toilets, washing dishes at a friends house, and showering at our local YMCA our lives returned to normal with no long term impact and a renewed appreciation for one of the conveniences of modern life.
If you have read many of my articles on this website it is probably becoming obvious that I like plans. Plans are like friends that come to help you in times of need. Plans are like armor that helps keep you safe from harm. Plans are like a crutch to help you along when you can’t quite do it alone. So trust your plans, and don’t give up on them just because it doesn’t always work the first time. They will come through in the long run to help you up, keep you safe and get you where you need to go.
I hope all your plans are succeeding and that you were safe in the harsh winter weather that we have had the last few weeks. I am another confused father wondering ...
What do I need to be planning for next?