This is the Summer of my Discontent. Or rather, the Summer of Discarded Plans. Do you, perhaps, make a lot of summer plans? I didn’t realize I had, until almost all of them had to be shelved. In few words, I was selected as one to help launch a new department at work. This came about abruptly in late May ~ and getting this off the ground was and is, taking a lot of concentration and time. Days off were scrapped, plans postponed, even my volunteer work canceled,. At home, the stunning sunflower bed in the garden I had been planning since the polar vortex last February, was eaten by a voracious snowshoe hare clan, even through fencing. Ruby, the neighbor’s black lab, decided she likes to sleep on my parsley. I had to replant after a conversation with my unaware neighbor. Some type of insect decided zinnias and Chinese lantern plants are delicious too. (they have recovered)
Yes, these are small, and rather silly and insignificant things to be discontented about. Somehow, my vacation and garden plans mattered a great deal to me. But it’s far better to have a job than not, and it is exciting to be part of launching a new department. Gardening is always risky in the best of times. Well planned vacation time can go awry with weather and travel. Neighbors and dogs aren’t perfect all the time.
Now, to my point. When I start to feel this kind of discontent about things not going as I planned them, it usually means God is about to make an announcement of some kind to me, in one way or another. And He did.
It came in homily form on Sunday, July 28th. Father was teaching from Luke 11. The Lord’s Prayer, The Our Father. As he talked us though this, he began to talk about what ISN’T in this prayer. He paused, and then said, “you know, nowhere in this prayer are we instructed to say, (and you recall this is Jesus teaching us how to pray) make us wealthy, make us healthy, make all of our plans and wishes happen. And please, no stress. It simply says Lord you are Holy. Give us what we need for today. Help us resist evil in all its forms. Forgive us-we will forgive,” Oh my. And, in a word, wow.
We all make many plans. We have a vision. That can’t really be bad. The discontent comes when we realize we really are not in total control. Knowing this, why do we hold on to our plans so tightly then? Do we hope to feel better about ourselves if our plans come to pass just the way we envisioned? Perhaps we might need to change our perspective about planning our lives in such rigid ways, checking off boxes and lists.
I have learned a valuable lesson this Discontented Summer ~ that there is far too much of “I want to do” and “I plan to do” and not enough of the critical sentence in the Our Father ~ ”Thy will be done”.
Perhaps, as this Summer begins to quiet down, and the blaze of activities over, you can think about some of the summer plans you made, and then the reality of what God’s plans for you have appeared.
As for me, I won’t be holding onto my plans quite so tightly anymore. And instead thinking more about “give us this day”. And that’s enough.
I won’t have the sunflowers of my garden dream this year. (a few survived and look promising to bloom though). Instead, I have a new role at work that is very interesting, and is just beginning to grow. The store-bought pumpkins I threw on the garden for the animals to eat late last Autumn (I think St. Francis approved) gave me two robust vines I didn’t even plant, sprouting miraculously and at this writing have at least ten pumpkins growing larger every day. Even my garden seems to be teaching me about God’s plans (and not my own) this Summer.
Lord, I hear your announcement. You are Holy. You come first. You have good plans for me. They are far better than my own. You are Our Father. Amen.
May God bless your remaining days this Summer, and as is my custom, I’ll share with you a painting I’ve created. Perhaps you will see in it what I have tried to say.