Had he lived past the age of 40, John Lennon would have turned 80 this Friday. His lyrics had a huge influence on my generation. I have been thinking about one in particular this year, from the song for his son Sean called “Beautiful Boy”……. “Life happens when you are busy making other plans.”
I love to travel, and since I am a planner by nature, this gives me three times the travel pleasure: 1) during the planning and research; 2) during the actual trip; 3) in my memories afterwards. There were several 2020 trips forming in my mind in February, before “life happened.” And I’m grieving those trips, hoping I will be able to take them in a few years. But it won’t be exactly the same. Timing is everything, and some lost opportunities can never be replaced.
One of my travel buddies has been my granddaughter. Starting at age 5 with a short trip to Baker City, OR, we have traveled to every county in Idaho, to three other states and two foreign countries – often during fall and spring break. On October 9th last year, we were in London. We visited Westminster Abbey; we observed a huge (but peaceful) protest against Climate Change called Extinction Rebellion; we visited the ultimate toy store, Hamley’s. This trip’s activities were definitely geared to the interests of an 11 year old. The trips we had planned for 2020 (age 12) may happen later, but it will be somewhat different, traveling with a teenager!
James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”
It’s okay to feel sad about what might have been, but I mustn’t allow regret to blind me to some marvelous things happening today, right under my nose. My challenge today is to be fully “in the now”, embracing its unique opportunities, while making plans for an uncertain future.
Lord, open my eyes to undiscovered possibilities, unique to what is possible today. Alert me to your will for me today, even as I make plans for the future. And help me to stop whining about what might have been! Create in me a spirit of gratitude. Amen