Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Of Plan B and C and D Dreams

Okay. Regarding the comments to my last post, you all are too nice. And I thank you.

But there was a specific reason I asked that question. I'd mulled it over for months then something Anne LaBastille wrote in Woodswoman II nudged me to finally ask it. But I'll explain that in a separate post.

There was something else in Anne's book I want to comment upon, though. It's this:

"Yes, I get scared--sometimes.... And a long-term fear and anxiety is whether I'll be able to keep in good enough shape, physically and mentally, to chop wood, carry water and backpack at age seventy-five... I would hate myself if I ever got fat, stared at tv every night and sat in a passive park by day. I'd despise any home where I had to take an elevator to reach it... throw garbage down a chute or flick on fluorescents. After the life I've led? No way!"

Anne wrote those words at age 51 while still living in her two cabins on her remote land in the Adirondacks. Today she is 75 and according to research I've done online, she had to sell her land, give away her cats and move into a retirement home/hospital... and is in the beginning stages of alzheimers.

Oh dear. I devoured her first two Woodswoman books as soon as they hit my mailbox. Her adventures in the Adirondaks make for exciting, but also peaceful reading.

But things do change. All of us grow older--we are growing older this very minute. We lose friends, spouses, relationships of all sorts and times and communities and lives shift and move and change.

So what do I propose? I propose that we have Plan B Dreams. Plan C and Plan D Dreams, too. And I also propose that we try to walk through our years with no vows such as this: "I will never, ever live in a way which is different, smaller, less free than I'm living at this moment."

This past February Tom and I attended the birthday party of a good friend and while there, we chatted with someone we'd not seen in eight (or so) years. And when we told him that for the six months before buying our farm we rented a one-bedroom apartment, he wrinkled his nose and said, "Oh. That must have been rough."

I was surprised! I told him, "Actually, it was amazing. We stored two-thirds of our possessions, so we had very little to care for. The apartment was cozy. We felt free as birds and went lots of places. In fact, it was like a second honeymoon."

I meant every word. When Tom and I discuss that tiny apartment, always, always we smile. And always I'll be grateful that we took that detour, that we lived in such simplicity before our 'elder years.' For now, we have nothing to dread. We make no ultimatums or threats about always living on this farm or independently with a house and yard. No, a tiny future place will be fine, for we'll have had our farm season, our adventures and our years of appreciation of all good things.

One room, even, for the two of us would be ok. Or--let's be realistic--a room for just one of us if the other should leave for Heaven first, well, that will be all right, too. For both of us have God--and He's so big that He fills any room up with the love and friendship and light which is Himself. So even alone, we are, neither of us, ever really alone.

And woven within my own Plan B or C or D Dreams is this: May I never, ever be mad at God or people or Life because of the way things turn out. But may I hold Life out upon my opened hand, palm-side up, and in the other hand, may I always grasp God with every bit of strength I possess.


There is a joy which comes to those who respect the seasons of Life.


"To everything there is a time and a season and a purpose under heaven..."


"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." ... Woody Allen


Judy said...

Beautiful thoughts, Debra.

Every time I visit my mom in the nursing home I come away very aware that people are as happy as they choose to be.

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

Thanks so much for the reminder. I needed this last paragraph for sure. Thanks, Lisa :o)

Mary said...

Very wise Debra. There is freedom to be had in letting go. Did anyone else notice the picture is very similar to the picture in your header? You are living your inspirations!

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

This is a great thing to be aware of at your young age! We need to find the blessing in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. That doesn't mean, to me, that we have to cease trying to improve things for ourselves and for others, but we also have to count our blessings.

Now I'm 65 and can easily imagine the blessing of downsizing! But I am still enjoying having my son living at home, which I don't think will be forever. So, I will enjoy it while I can!

Tina said...

Oh Debra, you are so wise. I will continue to pray that we have the freedom to make those decisions for ourselves, but you are so right that our happiness is not dependent on where we live or how large our home is. And what a beautiful statement you closed this post with:
"But may I hold Life out upon my opened hand, palm-side up, and in the other hand, may I always grasp God with every bit of strength I possess."


Laurie said...

You are right, it is great to have alternative plans. I have seen too many disappointed when things did not turn out as planned. Flexibility can be a good thing! Life IS what happens while we are making other plans!