Clarity in the muddle

Have you ever been glad you never got to some nagging element on your continual to-do list? You know, something that takes as much time to write on your list as to actually do it. Remember my bench that washed away in the rainstorm a few weeks ago? My first thought, after admitting how much I loved that bench, was relief that I’d procrastinated and hadn’t bought the rustoleum and taken the time to paint it.

Just sayin’. Sometimes it pays to procrastinate. And sometimes you can be too organized.

images 1Take this weekend. The writing guild I’m a member of planned a retreat in downtown Chicago. I’m trying hard to take my writing to another level (hopefully a higher one) and I wanted to actually meet these women who I admire so much from afar. So I registered by the deadline and then bought my flight six weeks ahead of time, waiting for the perfect time when airline costs are lowest. A few days later, I got the news that the retreat cancelled due to the small turnout. I really didn’t need a weekend trip to Chicago (although I’m sure it would’ve been fun) so I immediately cancelled the flight. There was no charge to cancel it, but the message said there may be a charge when I used that credit for another flight. The next day, the retreat was back on, at a smaller place, this time in Wisconsin. Thinking Wisconsin meant just over the state line from Chicago, I rebooked the exact same flight, returning at noon on Sunday. I found out the maybe charge was $200 – after I rebooked it. Then I found out the place in Wisconsin is way up north, five hours from the airport (meaning I’ll either put someone out to get up in the wee hours to take me back to O’Hare — for some reason nobody’s volunteered yet — or I’ll have to drive an unfamiliar car through unfamiliar Milwaukee and Chicago). Neither option sounds very fun. Or restful. Especially when I think of going back to work early Monday morning. I mean, haven’t I done all that stressful traveling before? That was my life. And now I’m 57 and I don’t want to anymore.

Remember last week’s arson in an air traffic control center at O’Hare airport, the one that grounded thousands of flights? Looks like that’s been resolved, but today 800 flights are grounded because of the weather, once again in poor ole O’Hare. And one thing we were promised was spectacular fall colors up near the border of Canada, but now I’m thinking the 100% rain predicted could obstruct the view.1013288_10205152054547297_5085976549745370458_n

Contradictory thoughts are fighting for control of my jumbled mind.

  1. If I just hadn’t been so quick to act, I’d have saved myself $200 and a lot of hassle. I should’ve procrastinated. Skipped the weekend. (And perhaps forfeited the blessing?)
  2. My friends in Eastern Europe used to tell me that when I travel, things happen. I attract adventure, and not just the good kind. For a long time now, I’ve known that I’m the jinx. Jonah suggested the sailors throw him in overboard so the seas would calm down. Maybe my writing guild should just throw me in.
  3. But then there’s a thought that I think — I hope — is the true one. It’s a principle-of-life-type thought. I’ve found that just before something stupendous happens, circumstances often get really difficult and muddled. It’s tempting to give up. Back out. Throw myself in overboard. Maybe, just maybe, these awesome women will be so wonderful and the creativity will be so electric and contagious that it will be one of the best weekends of my life. Maybe I can trust God to bring clarity and His good purposes out of all the muck and confusion. Maybe I can take a deep breath, not let the stress get me down, and enjoy.

I hope it’s the latter. I’ll be sure to let you know. I might be posting from O’Hare airport, still stranded three days later. Or I might be posting from a mountaintop.


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