MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Wednesday, May 13th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Janie B. Cheaney now on anticipating God’s plan in life’s pauses.
JANIE B. CHEANEY: Looking across the landscape, I see plans derailed like a massive train wreck, cars spilled in all directions, from corporate collapses to anniversary cruises. I’ve added my own little plan to that pile-up.
Twenty-one years ago my husband was looking for a refuge in the country because of Y2K (remember that?). We found a 150-year-old farmhouse on 5 acres for a fire-sale price, then bit off a renovation project that was almost more than we could chew.
But I never really liked the place. Our house has its charms but also its inconvenient quirks. The only kind of internet connection we could get at first was dial-up, and driving two hours back and forth to church, as least once a week, got old fast. My husband felt differently, and we had our disagreements.
Fast-forward to 2018. We’re getting older. My husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and though it takes a while to convince him, he’s coming around to my conviction that we need to move. Five acres will soon be too much for us to keep up, and we should be closer to services, doctors, and help from the church.
By 2019, I have a plan: clean out the clutter, sell a few collectibles, line up carpenters and plumbers to make some minor repairs. Early in 2020 I’ll be repainting, window-washing, and carpet-cleaning, and we’ll stick a For Sale sign in the front yard by May 1.
In February, bad news. Our antiquated septic system will need a major overhaul. Also, the real estate agent has done a price comparison, and the likely selling price is way off what I’d hoped. I’ll have to scale back expectations.
Then comes March: real estate grinds to a standstill and so does everything else.
I used to lie awake at night, or wake up with a sense of dread that I’m stuck here forever. So this is like a nightmare come true, except—
My attitude has changed. Miraculously.
This property is beautiful in the spring. My carpentry plans are on hold, but I rearranged some furniture and my office and bedroom feel almost like a new house. We’ve been taking more walks, enjoying the peppy birdsongs and hopeful spring peepers near the pond. I put out some flowers last week. I find myself thinking, if we’re still here three years from now–
It will be okay.
For now, for me, it’s good to slow down and watch the sunset over our Kelly-green property line. Our problems haven’t disappeared, and the time will come to deal with them.
But I am not stuck. I am paused. In music, the pauses matter as much as the notes; potential hovers within, like the Spirit of the Lord hovering over the waters. There’s a plan in all this: just not mine.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.