I am a planner. I have booked my vacations for one or two years before I’m going. With our current circumstances, I can barely plan what I’m doing over the next week. Oddly enough, I feel like God has prepared me for this time.
I watched Mass with Fr. Mike Schmitz last Sunday, and his homily hit really close to home for me. He spoke of our need to know when: when can I go back to work, when can I go out to a restaurant with friends, when will I be able to receive the Eucharist, when will all this end? If we know the answer to these questions, then we will feel more secure about life. But the truth is life is not secure; it can change in an instant, no matter how much we plan. As Catholics, we should not be anxious over this insecurity, but rather be confident in God and courageous in our actions in an insecure world. As he was describing people who plan, it was like he knew me! It made me start thinking about how accepting, for the most part, I have been during this time.
My first experience of not having control was on a retreat. The retreat director did not provide a schedule. I remember how distinctly uncomfortable I felt. I couldn’t plan for my free time and I didn’t have anything to reference for when and where to meet next. It was only a weekend retreat, and at the end of each session, the director would advise when and where to meet next. To my surprise, at the end of the retreat, I realized I actually enjoyed it, even though I was not privy to the schedule in advance!
My next two experiences were ones in which I relinquished control with full knowledge when I booked mystery vacations. I was to meet up with others to explore somewhere, planned and escorted by AAA. And I would love to do it again. While I had no idea of the particulars until we arrived at each activity, I knew the total amount of time that I would be away was five days. I found I enjoyed the locations because I could just be immersed in them, instead of being distracted by anticipating what was going to happen next.
So far, I’m one of the lucky ones; I have been able to continue working. I have been a remote worker since moving to Virginia last year, so to some degree, not much has changed for me. I do want to explore my new state and visit the various areas and museums, and I can’t plan for that… yet. God knows I’m a planner, and in His wisdom, He prepared me for this time, with short introductions to living without knowing the plan. I can’t say this time has been as enjoyable as the retreat or the vacations, but I am thankful to God. The reality is that we can really only live in the moment. Learn from the past, hope in the future, but focus on today. Live today in thanks and praise to God, as that is His gift to each of us.