The best laid plans …

Our plan for the past 24 hours seemed simple enough. We needed to leave a community event by 11.50am to ensure we were on the highway to our destination for a dinner with my husband’s regiment where he serves as Padre. Yes it would be a five hour drive, but that would allow us time to check-in to our overnight accomodation and get dressed and ready in reasonable time. As long as we didn’t stay too late once dinner was over we could get in a few hours sleep before waking at 4am and be on the road home, arriving just in time for our 10am church service.

All was going remarkably to plan and schedule until things went somewhat awry. At 5:20am this morning our car had an encounter with a medium sized kangaroo that chose that particular moment to bound across the highway on which we were travelling.

Before I say anything else, let me reassure you all that we are fine. No physical injury was sustained by either David or myself, and I choose to believe that the kangaroo hopped away also (although not entirely likely). My husband did all the correct things by not swerving to avoid it, which can often still lead to impact followed by a vehicle careering out of control. As dawn was still an hour away (when they are more likely to be on the move) we weren’t keeping an overly keen eye out for them yet.

Our car, however, was not designed to fare well in a collision with a kangaroo. The plastic bumper and headlight casing were significantly damaged, but the vehicle appeared to still be drivable and so we chose to continue on our way with not much time lost.

The first thing I noticed as we resumed was that the heater seemed to have stopped working. It was 6 degrees at the time, but we are heading into weather in the high 30’s in the next few days so it was a minor inconvenience. Another 10 minutes down the road, however, the car’s engine overheating alarm started going a bit nuts and we realised that perhaps more than superficial damage may have been done. We were 40kms away from the next town and so we tentatively drove there, stopping every 5 mins to let the engine cool down and therefore taking an hour to travel that distance.

Each time we had to pull over I could see our grand plan that had been working so well up to this point, fade further and further into fantasy. There was not much we could do about it, and while inconvenient, we were able to be thankful to have only sustained relatively minor damage. If the kangaroo had been a fully grown male this story could have been significantly more serious.

I was so proud with how I was handling the situation. I would normally have been quite anxious about the control over my plans being snatched away. My feelings of frustration and helplessness would have caused emotional responses, but I took it all in my stride, even as we had to wait for an hour for a tow truck to arrive and transport us another hour to the closest major town where we could hire a car to continue our return journey, which was still 400kms from that point.

By now, our 5 hour travel time has blown out to double our original plan, with extra expense and inconvenience added in. It was, however, okay. The church service was covered and our kids were safe and cared for back home, and could continue to be so until we eventually made it back. We were safe and could do no more, except learn from this situation.

Plans. They are a funny thing. For some people they are chiseled in stone and no deviation is allowed. For others, they are an incumbrance to living life free and easy. I have learned to view plans a little differently. I like to now hold the plans I make within loose fingers. This way it brings an adequate amount of structure to my day, but it also allows them to change and not devastate me.

An often quoted verse from the Bible speaks of the best plans that can be made. In the book of Jeremiah, chapter 29 verse 11 it says, “For I know that plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Sometimes my plans are not God’s plans for me. I seem to believe I know better when it comes to making them, but I learn over and over again that His plans, when I allow them to be the basis for my choices, work out even better than I could have begun to picture.

As I write this in the car we still have over 2 hours to travel in our journey, and I am not entirely sure why we have had this particular experience. Despite this, I believe that the only plans I want to hold tightly to are the ones that God, the creator of the best plans, makes for me.

Be blessed.

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