"Life is what happens when you're making other plans..."
I had plans.
Robert and I had plans.
We were going to...travel, play with grandkids, spend time with our kids and grandkids, and maybe in a few years we would retire and serve a mission. Where would we go? It was all so fun and exciting. I love having plans. It's true, I'm a planner.
Now Robert's gone. Now what? What was my plan? I felt I had walked to the edge of the light...but I was staring off into darkness. So, I did what any good planner would do: I made immediate plans.
Lead, kindly light amid the encircling gloom;
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
I went back to school. I felt it was important and found an opportunity that suited me. I kept the plan to serve a mission after retirement. I tried to replace the happy mental pictures of Robert and I serving together, knowing that even serving alone would still be a happy endeavor. Still, the path between now and then seemed a little forlorn. Retirement is a few years off. I just couldn't picture in my head what the intervening years looked like. It's easy to make plans with someone, thinking of fun and happy times along the path. But this new plan, well....really, what fun and happy times were there going to be?
I prayed to know what to do. Was I making the right plans? Was I being wise here? Or there? Like an actress on a stage, I needed motivation. I needed to see just far enough ahead to feel confident that moving ahead in a certain direction was the right thing. Part of finding joy in the journey is knowing you're on the right path, no matter what briars and brambles are thrown in the way.
Keep Thou my feet;
I do not ask to see the distant scene--
One step enough for me.
And I kept going. That's the other part of finding joy in the journey...not giving up. Joy is around the corner, this I know. (well....sometimes joy is under a rock and you have to move the rock to find it).
The Lord heard my queries and answered in a sweet and inviting way. The light shone not just on the closest steps along the path, but a ways up the road as well. I see and understand where I'm going now. I'm still open to inspiration and possibilities, but for now, my feet are standing on the right path. I can still play with grandkids, do a little traveling, and make plans long into the future. It's possible things will change, but I've learned that the Lord holds His lantern high, so I can see just far enough ahead to keep walking no matter where I am.
So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Isn't that like the Lords plan? He sends us here to earth? He gives us all we need to succeed. We know enough for now to move elong our earth-life path and be joyful along the way.