I woke up exceptionally early this morning, and wasn’t ready to crawl out of bed right away, so I grabbed the book on my nightstand and began to read. I typically read fiction, even though there is a stack of non-fiction waiting for me. I prefer an escape into story to any type of reality, but especially to self-help books. I really don’t want to read about how to manage my finances, what career is best for me in the second half of my life, or how to control my autoimmune disease.
I want to get lost. For a little while.
So, this morning I grabbed Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Bread Crumbs which I had started last night. It’s the story of a once-famous photographer who has to re-locate in her 60s in order to gain control of her waning finances in the wake of divorce and decreased popularity. She is struggling to re-enliven her career and find meaning for her life. The scene I read this morning ended with her sharing with a new friend a statement that her father often said, “Mann tracht, und Gott lacht.” Translation, man plans and God laughs.
I laughed out loud. God spoke to me through Anna Quindlen’s fiction. You may think I have lost my mind by now. And that may be true. But, if I remember correctly, I finished yesterday’s post with the Scripture, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but the Lord’s purpose prevails.” I plan, God laughs. I plan, God directs. He wants me to get it through my thick skull. He is God and I am not.
I had lunch with a new friend yesterday. Among the many things we discussed, we touched on how to find purpose and meaning at this season of our lives — you know, middle age. How should we use our time? What should we commit to?
Later, on a walk with my husband, it came up again. When I say yes to something, I say no to something else. If I say yes to a full-time teaching position, I say no to most everything else. If I say yes to working days, I say no to lunch dates. If I say yes to a PhD program, I say no to reading much fiction.
I am figuring and planning; God is laughing. He knows the plans he has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans for good and not for evil. (Jeremiah 29:11) His laughter is the gentle laughter of a parent saying, “Calm down, little one, I’ve got it under control. I know what you need before you ask.”
For now, I believe, He has called me to rest and be still. He will reveal what is next when it is time for what is next.
In the mean time, I will be reading fiction and being pleasantly surprised when He uses even that to remind me that He’s got me in the palm of His hand.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.