I laugh inside when people recite their plans as if they have complete control over their destiny.
I had plans. After a really stressful childhood and adolescence I couldn’t WAIT to be an adult. Specifically I planned to be a wife and mother. I fell head over heels with someone, got married in a proper “church” wedding, and after being told I might have a problem conceiving, I had a beautiful baby. I felt truly blessed. We had moved to a suburb of Boston into a townhouse to prepare for him. Our condo in the South End of Boston was too small. We put it on the market.
As I discussed in an earlier blog, he was diagnosed with a fatal illness (NTSAD’s site). We quickly moved BACK into our tiny condo in Boston. I loved that apartment but was about 650 square feet and had no washer and dryer. I still felt blessed. I felt God was with me, helping me function. I know that to be true.
Anyway, I thought I would be a mom. I was. But not for long. I didn’t want to hear about God’s plan at that time. In fact, I was pretty mad at him. I had my own plans. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted a healthy child. A happy marriage. I was losing it all.
While I was struggling through the nightmare surrounding the gift of my son’s existence, I relied on laughing. We had no cable television and there was no internet. I watched “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Simpsons.” Back then there was a comedy channel called “Ha!” and then one called “The Comedy Channel.” There was no other way to live. My friends, nurses and I found something to laugh at every day, even in the face of one of the most unfunny things we had encountered in our lives.
I did cry. I cried when I looked at my little baby, struggling to smile, all the while trying to burn the memory into my mind, knowing his smiles wouldn’t last. I cried when he had surgery. After I brought him back after he nearly choked to death. Sitting in the dark on his rocking chair after getting him to sleep after a long night of seizures. But I needed to laugh too. My laughing made him laugh. I always smiled at him. I never wanted him to see or hear me cry. I discouraged people from crying around him. I figured I had the rest of my life to cry and only a short time with him.
Then, he died. Not a mother anymore.
New plan: Be a fundraiser and advocate for my son’s charity. After my son’s death, I did a lot of fundraising. Comedy shows and rock concerts with my (now ex) husband’s old employer (a radio station). I did it for a few years. That lead to selling advertising. I went to college at Emerson College and finished at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. It took me almost a decade but I graduated. Next plan! I thought I would have a career. I did, sort of, but again, not for long. God tried to guide me but I went down the wrong path, apparently.
During that time, my husband decided he didn’t love me anymore and didn’t want children, despite going through extensive, painful infertility treatments and a home study for adoption. Hilariously, he took up with his boss’s secretary and had kids, one of whom looks a lot like our son. We were completely replaced.
I never fully recovered from that (it took me over ten years) and ended up wasting a decade with someone even worse for me. I will not waste time writing about that person. I consider that time as officially “lost” and not worthy of discussion, but the only thing I learned from that experience is that I officially cannot bear children.
New plan: Childless Career Woman.
So all I had left was my career. Until I got sick. Really sick. Not “cancer” sick. Just “pain so bad most people would kill themselves, sick.” I am dizzy almost very day. I cannot hear out of my left ear very well. I was on pain medication that made me sick until they found the right kind. I went to college and wasn’t using my degree. So much for THAT plan. Funny movies and cartoons helped ease the pain and despair but something had to change. I wasn’t laughing much anymore. The pain was all I had. I lost everything. Again.
New Plan: Self Sufficient Disabled Person with two dogs.
The cold weather and financial reasons drove me South. I couldn’t stay with family. I felt completely alone there. I had an online friend in Kentucky who told me that it was really cheap to live there and I could have an apartment for me and my dogs-who were the only creatures I could really count on at that time to stand by me. I could support myself. So I did it. Really, what had Massachusetts afforded me? With the exception of my sister and my friend, Tina, every close friend I ever had moved away or took sides in the divorce. So why not me? I wanted to support myself and my dogs. I thought God’s plan for me was to be alone, with my dogs. So, off we went.
I put what was left of my belongings (long story) into a moving truck and loaded my car with my precious dogs and clothes and drove the longest way I had ever driven in my life.
I felt like someone was guiding me. Like I was walking through the dark and feeling around for the walls until you find the light switch. I had no idea what lay ahead but it had to be better from the pain, both physical and mental, I had endured.
As we drove into the rolling pastures, the temperature rose and the sun was shining. We were driving to an apartment I had only seen in photos. I couldn’t help but smile.
I laughed as Finnie (my little dog) barked at the cows. I was in a place where nobody was hurting my feelings, questioning my illness, making fun of my hearing loss or lack of balance (implying I was drugged out), stealing my medication, or criticizing my very existence and there was an excellent chance that I would meet some nice people.
Once that happened, we have been laughing and not looking back. God led me here and I finally feel home. I trust Him and His plan. My plans were all wrong. God is driving the bus. It is better to sit back and enjoy the ride.