I am on my second week of life unscripted. For me, that means that after the second cup of coffee, I set the agenda for the day. Yeah, I’m somewhat of a control freak—just ask my children. But I have realized we cannot simply set aside a period of time where we go merrily down the lane, enjoying and doing only pleasant and uplifting things without life intruding. The last few weeks have taught me that both good and hard things and all the things in between happen spontaneously.
Yesterday, after the church service, I embraced a dear friend. We hugged each other tightly for several seconds, and I murmured in her ear, “I am so sorry. He will be missed.” A few weeks ago, her husband of 60+ years passed. Although we believe we will be reunited, losing someone you love is always painful, as the chasm between the living and those who have gone before us opens.
Saturday is often a day where nothing is planned, but (being me) I decided how this Saturday was going to roll out. In the morning I gardened. In the afternoon I was going to quilt, take Ted for a walk, have a refreshing drink on the deck with John, eat dinner, and then relax until bedtime.
So I was surprised when my great-niece Jillian arrived at the door with an apple pie. This pie had significance. It was the first pie she had ever baked. And it was made with apples from my sister’s tree. Grace passed about seven years ago, and she was an incredible baker.
We invited Jillian in and sat by the pool, catching up while snacking and drinking La Croix. Jillian had just returned home after graduating from Berkely University, so she had a lot to share.
As we chatted, my phone signaled an incoming text. Chris, Marlene, and Brooke—our son, his wife, and daughter—wanted to go swimming and soak in the spa. Of course we said yes.
We ended up having Chinese takeout in the evening, and everyone was gone about 9:30 p.m. An unexpected fun day, and I only thought about my planned quilting once—well, maybe a few times. But here is the kicker: the afternoon rolled out just as Brooke had planned. And since we are talking about apples, they don’t fall far from the tree.
There are two more funerals scheduled for August, a summer graduation, and a wedding. So much for planning an unscheduled life. Do you see the contradiction in that last sentence? Trying to control your days is like trying to control the weather. I’ve decided to just let go, plan my days lightly, and accept what surfaces.
I’m reminded of standing in the surf as the waves roll in. Some pleasantly swirl around our calves and tickle our feet as the water recedes. Others are exciting to dive under, bob over, or surf on. Some can catch us unaware and toss us around. Then we must swim to the surface for a breath and head back toward solid ground—and humanity.
The takeaway here is to expect the unexpected. And never turn your back on the ocean or swim alone.