This weekend I was in the closet, putting away laundry, when I looked up and saw a familiar site – Jaime’s planner. It was actually the final planner she ever had. I know, you are probably thinking, “Of what significance is a planner?” To know Jaime was to know that she held her planner as a “sacred” document. She was a meticulous planner – scripting out the events of the day, sometimes to the hour. And what she planned, she completed. After we were married, she could not understand how I could function without any form of lists or a day planner. She would purchase planners for me and I would end up scripting out a week and then reverting back to my post it notes and scraps of paper I would tape to locations throughout our home. It drove her crazy! Likewise, if more than a few items were incomplete, needing to be bumped to the next day, you could sense a feeling of failure on her part. I am serious. If she didn’t get to the grocery store, or email a friend, or catch up on her favorite show, and it was in the planner, she would say that she must have dropped the ball somewhere during the day. Her planner was a tool for good as well as for establishing a bar in her life that, at times, was incapable of being reached. I often told her that sometimes she just expected too much from the day. That there was no way anyone, including a certified super hero, could complete as much as she had set out to accomplish. She would agree and make adjustments for the moment. As I flipped through her final planner, I noticed a difference in her organization. My heart hurt a little as I read the familiar names of her cancer team, and the days full of appointments. On several pages, however, I saw something not common to Jaime’s script – question marks. She would write a few things she hoped to accomplish and then would conclude with a beautifully written question mark. And this new format was evident in her conversations with me. I had shifted into “take care of everyone” mode, asking her if she needed to go here or there, and she would quietly respond, “if we have time,” or “maybe tomorrow.” Jaime stopped using her planner in the early fall. I didn’t notice until I saw that she had just stopped writing. She was at peace for a multitude of reasons. One of which I will note for now is because she had finally found peace in letting someone else plan the day.
I thank God for the joy He has given me to face the memories that flood each day. I even thank Him for the sense of excitement that surrounds wherever my next opportunity will be. However, there has also been a looming pain in the newness of what is to come. For instance, when I got back home from Colorado, Felicity was still with a friend (I would see her the next day) and I came home to a quiet house to share the excitement of my trip with…the cup of coffee I drank before going to bed. When I think that after all of this time, I will soon have the privilege of sharing my passion and experiences as a principal, I won’t get to rush home ever again and share with Jaime the events of the day. My excitement in planning for our future seems odd without having a list nearby of what needs to be done, who needs to be called, etc. I once made fun of her endless lists. There were even times when I loathed having a list of items to tick through the day. What I wouldn’t give to have another list sitting on my dresser with my favorite candy or cup of coffee and the private bantering she would use as a closing. I laugh as I find myself researching potential jobs and communities and writing it all down on my yellow legal pad. Maybe Jaime was right? Maybe I should have been making lists all along? She would be proud of my pages of notes on jobs, preschools, and rental properties. Like her, though, I have also learned that my plans must be flexible. The pages on Loveland, Colorado aren’t needed at this time. But at one point, they were! Making plans for the future is wise. So are having flexible plans for the future. Nothing is wrong with looking ahead to tomorrow, providing you footnote the plans with the question mark – since, as I have found, we are not guaranteed another day. I still do not use my planner. I am sure that will change as I eventually transition into the role of principal. However, I do find myself in communication with the Planner. I bring to Him what He already is well aware of and He plots out the day. While He ensures that cells, particles, spectrums, wind, and the invisible things are accomplished, He also tends to the intricate details of my life. As I learn the blessing of silence before Him, I also find that my plans tend to have more question marks…a reminder of the One who planned this journey long, long ago.