I am a planner. I like routine. I like order and control. Knowing that those are my natural dispositions, I probably should not have decided to become a priest or a mother. Both of those vocations regularly involve upset plans, routines, order, and control. Of course, one cannot do either job well without plans, routines, order, and control – but one has to also be able to extremely flexible when those things fall apart.
This past week has been a week like that. We had a parish death about two weeks ago, which meant the funeral needed to be on my normal Sabbath. I was totally fine with that – in fact, I usually drop everything when a death happens. Again, that is part of being a priest. You learn to reshuffle the week, and make it work. And that was what I was doing until this weekend hit. I ate something that was apparently spoiled and got sick overnight. The next morning the malfunction light on my car came on as the car lurched its way down the highway. And then, right as I was trying to rally to get back to my work routine, my eldest got sick in the middle of the night too.
Of course, it is not often the case that everything is shifting and changing all at once. But when you have a week of concentrated upheaval, you begin to wonder about what God is up to. In general, I think singular schedule changers are good reminders about self-importance. Mass schedule changers though seem to be an invitation to do a few things. First, laugh. Laugh at how silly it is to think we are ever fully able to control this crazy, wild, wonderful gift of life. Second, look. Look at the room full of mourners reminding you of ultimate importance. Third, love. Love that God made a tender moment of cuddling with your three-year old because you are too tired to do anything else.
I don’t wish the chaos of my last week on anyone. It can be disorienting, frustrating, and exhausting. But if you do find those moments of unpredictability coming your way, perhaps you can take a moment to see where God is inviting you to laugh, look, and love. Your plans will be there tomorrow!