Man Plans; God laughs
I love this saying.
I want a color poster of this saying hanging in my office and another hanging in my living room.
Bright vivid colors underlining and highlighting that regardless as to how much we plan and how much control we feel we have in a situation, the reality is quite different. Man plans; God laughs!
Take a wedding, for example. Ever notice all the work and attention to detail involved in a wedding? Everything is expected to be “just right.” There is little room for life or imperfection or anything else to happen. The focus is often on the perfection of the day and its orchestration over anything and everything else. The most simple looking wedding might be the one that is most carefully and meticulously planned. One little “oops” and everything goes haywire. Is the day ruined or… did life just “happen!”
I have a certain degree of experience with this concept of planning and orchestrating –
This is what will happen then
He will say this
She will respond thusly
Then this will happen
I am not sure I was ever that detailed, but there are times in my life when I have looked to a plan with details in order to find comfort or to control a situation.
At some point along the way, and I wish I could remember exactly when it happened, I had to realize that all this planning and controlling and orchestrating didn’t really work for me. I would find myself focused solely on the plan and the details that I probably missed a lot of the life around me. Focusing on the control I had and how each party would respond and why they might respond in that manner kept me from living, but it also kept me from realizing that life happens.
I might have this great plan. Every last detail is orchestrated. Complete control is mine, all mine!!
But guess what, I don’t live in a bubble (oh, because if I did I could really, I mean really, control everything). I am not isolated from the world around me. No matter how much I might control the little world in which I live (house and family) I yield no control over external sources. I mean no control at all.
SO I plan, and plan, and take care of all the tiny details and then… life happens!! Reality strikes. The tiniest thing takes place and, wow, I am left wondering how to put everything back together again! My focus then is on the loss of the plan over anything and everything else.
Man plans; God laughs!
There are times when I think God must have a terrific sense of humor as the things that have happened to me when I get caught up in a “plan” or a set schedule or “control over my world”… even I have to find myself laughing when life happens and I am reminded that I am just one tiny (but amazing) part of a huge world.
I have learned to let go, if just a tad. Having a kid helps because wow, if you have ever been around a child you know that anything can happen… and it usually does. Children and other people have their own emotions and reactions and perceptions that, no matter how hard one might try, can not be controlled. That is just life.
I also learned that if we are focused so much on controlling everything we aren’t ready for the actuality that something can change. Control allows us very little to no flexibility. Control is rigid and strict – and the curve balls that life throws don’t fit well in that ball park!
Over the past few years or decades, I have learned simply to accept people as I can’t control them or their reactions or anything that they do or say. I am not sure why I would want to either as that denies them their voice.
I have learned, largely, not to plan emotional conversations or events as they are often more about timing (and there is never really a right time) and even then, the variables are extensive. I now go for genuine honesty and trust in the moment over attempting to control the details and orchestrating the situation.
I try not to plan anymore – at least not a detailed and orchestrated plan that denies life a role. I work with objectives in that this is what I would like to accomplish. Then I sit back and enjoy, understanding that the experience of living is often more about the life that we discover when there isn’t a plan in place.