It’s a Yiddish proverb, meaning roughly that while we scurry around trying to mold our lives into a certain shape, we fail to acknowledge that there are unknown forces/random chance at work that are likely to derail our efforts.
I don’t know that we should view that as proof of a toying God, or that our fates’ are completely outside of our control no matter how carefully we plan and prepare. Silly humans.
It might be melodramatically superficial to say that I started making plans around the same time that God started to show me plans. It’s probably closer to the truth that it wasn’t all me finally making life-changing decisions or even God parting clouds to shine sunlight on a path. Rather, perhaps I’ve been moving in a certain direction all my life. Choosing this pathway over that, but always moving in a common direction, and either I finally recognized the forest, or I stopped feeling lost among the trees.
Journaling has been a big part of my life; a best friend, psychoanalyst and magic mirror all-in-one. A few years ago when I became more interested in studying Christian philosophy (the Bible and the things Jesus has to say), I decided that I needed a separate notebook for these thoughts. I called it my “Prayer Journal,” and halfway through the pages, when I decided to change my life, it became the groundwork for what I am doing today – my writing life.
So, the God-thing sticks in my mind. Knowing all that transpired in the last six months to bring me to where I am now, it should come as no surprise to flip back through my journal and read my entry from just over a year ago recounting a phone conversation with a good friend. I was in the depths of a certain kind of daily-grind misery, and this friend (who is an important part of my story related to making room for God in my life) had this to say to me:
“God’s timing presents itself. Our risk is our faith.”
At the time, I was in the throes of big-time planning. Six months later, unforeseen events found me realizing that the plans had subverted the goal and I decided that the time had come to take the risk. To quit my job to focus on writing for a living.
The last part of my journal entry reads:
“I don’t want to wait anymore, I want to live. I don’t want to plan anymore, I want to be. My time is coming. I hope I see it when it does, when God signals to me…NOW!”
That same day, according to my journal, I was nearing the end of my letterpress class and a pine cone had fallen from a tree and rolled to my feet. Neon letters might as well have been blinking in the sky; not so much as the ‘bat-signal’ I seemed to be waiting for, but, rather a wink and a nod, saying, Glad you’re finally paying attention.