Clueless and Good at It
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Life in the Third Degree.
Since last summer, my life has been in a free fall. Sometimes I think I can see land beneath me. Other times, it’s mist and obscured.
I had thought that once the divorce was final, I could get some structure back into my life, but instead, it’s all open air and I’m diving and have no idea what’s ahead.
This is different for me. I’ve always been the quintessential planner. I had my college schedule planned out before I ever went to high school. I had my career and life planned before I ever started college. And for the last few years with my ex, I still had plans for the future, and a bright future, too, with dinners cooked at home and children not in daycare and dreams of being a writer fulfilled.
So now I’ve come through the fire, not unscathed but stronger than ever. And yet, I haven’t a clue what to do next.
I’ve done all the analysis, made all the plans, looked at every nook and cranny. And yet, I haven’t a clue what to do next.
It is Mark who offers me the solace I need. He helps me to see that not knowing what’s coming next is not only okay, but a good thing! My garden may be well-planned and full of flowers, but I can’t add a beautiful new plant if my garden is already so full and so well-planned that a new plant just won’t fit. The empty garden can be filled as I go through life. I can add to it as wondrous new things appear in my life. A full garden gets maintenance at best but no new blossoms. It’s okay to not know what to plant next or to have not yet found the right flower for that corner space.
Mark calls this “wandering” and reminds me of all the great spiritual leaders who spent 90% of their path just wandering. I think of how Jesus never seemed, according to the authors of the Gospels, to have a written agenda or a life plan or a checklist to abide by. He just wandered from place to place, sharing His teachings and both loving and serving. I think of other leaders, too, and I’m in good company. I feel better now that I’m just “wandering.”
But the truth is, wandering is going to be an acquired taste for me. Right now, it’s settled in my mid-section, below my ribcage. That anxious feeling somewhere between my gut instinct and my heart. That sense of the unknown.
Then I remember what Mark said about maps. They don’t show you where you’re going, but rather, where you are. I think I’ve drawn a pretty good map of my life. Which way I go now is my choice. And I have lots and lots of choices.
The map has no invisible ink, no missing sections. It’s all there if I care to look. And for me to explore it all and see all the things I could never have planned to see, it just takes a leap of faith and then a lot of wandering through unfamiliar, dangerous, and beautiful terrain.
And it’s okay that I don’t know my step.