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Not Making Other Plans Right Now

Most of us are actually aware that life is happening and impacting our “other plans."

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“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. The trouble is most of us don’t realize this except in retrospect and then life has already happened.” Reader’s Digest, 1957

(The first line of this quote is often attributed to John Lennon from his song “Beautiful Boy” but it was actually traced back to Allen Saunders and his comic strip “Steve Roper.”) 

All of which might be interesting, but diverges from the actual quote. I think, right now, most of us are actually aware that life is happening and impacting our “other plans.” 

This has made me think a lot of parents who have gone to “rest high on that mountain.” I’m glad they aren’t facing this challenge. They had plenty in their long lives. 

My dad was a child of the depression and came of age in time to go to war twice. 

My mom used to tell us about having invasion nightmares as a child. She saw two brothers go to war and only one come home. 

They both faced financial and health challenges in their lives. Through their words and, more importantly, their actions, I grew up knowing that they faced challenges with courage, resolve and calm. 

I remember one conversation I had with my parents not long after I moved to Houston back in 1980. The hubs was well-sitting in Alaska (yeah, that’s where he was) and I was in Houston with a small daughter and a hurricane boiling up in the Gulf. Oh, and we had $25.00 in our bank account because the hubs wasn’t in town to bring home his paycheck. 

I might have been a little stressed out, so I phoned home. 

This was my first hurricane, so I didn’t know all the lingo and the meanings of the various watches and warnings. I’d kept my cool fairly well until we got put on a tornado watch list. Again, I didn’t know this didn’t mean I was about to do a Dorothy. I might have been looking for some ruby slippers. Lol

I poured this out to my mom and she said, “You need to talk to your dad.” She handed the phone over and I explained All The Things. He was quiet for a moment, then he said, “Well, you should go stay in your basement.”

“They don’t have basements in Houston, Dad.”

“Well, stay on a lower floor.”

“We live on the second floor of an apartment building.”

He was quiet a bit longer and then he said, “Well, if a tornado hits you, you’ll probably die, but if it doesn’t, you’ll be okay.” 

I heard my mom yell in the background, but his words calmed me down. 

He was right. I wasn’t in control of the tornado. And obviously, I didn’t die, so my dad was right. 

I can’t tell you how much I wanted to call my dad this week and hear him say, “If you don’t die, you’ll be all right.” 

And hear my mom yell at him. Lol

But what I learned from them, it’s not gone as long as I remember and try to be as brave as they were. 

Have courage in the face of hardship and uncertainty. 

Do what I can and don’t worry about what I can’t control. have courage

If I’m anxious about what might happen that just means I’ll live it twice. 

Just to put things in perspective:

  • World War II “officially” began in 1939, though for many people it began much sooner.
  • The US entered the war the end of 1941.
  • The European front began to conclude at the end of 1944.
  • The Pacific front ended in Sept. 1945. 
  • For some countries, including East Germany, their liberation didn’t happen until 1989 and after. 
  • And an interesting side note: Britain endured fourteen years of rationing! 

I have no idea what’s ahead for the inhabitants of Earth. I know we’re facing uncertainty and hardship. People have, and will, die. I might be one of them. But thanks to my mom and dad, I know it will end. Life will begin to happen again. We will be changed, but we will be okay. We’ll begin to plan again…

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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