Day 2, Off the Rails, and That’s Okay

It’s amazing how quickly it can all go off the rails.

It is Day 2 of the new year, and you would think things would still be going strong on the second day. All the great plans, the serious goals, the new habits that will form the year ahead…

It’s true that I haven’t really warmed up to the new year yet. I was planning to have a lovely weekend getting things done around the house and clearing off my desk. Class starts on Monday, and I was hoping for a date night out with my wife that night. I would settle in to my new routines on Tuesday. I always like starting new things on Tuesday.

Then the phone call: My wife’s father has been taken by ambulance to another city, four hours away, where he is awaiting a consult for open heart surgery.

It’ll all settle in soon. When it’s quiet, we will talk, and worry, and pray. But for now it is route plans, hotel bookings, packing, cleaning. We are probably doing things because it is easier to do things than to just be, to just wait. But we legitimately have to get on the road tomorrow morning, as the sun rises, before the snow sets in.

And that’s the weekend. No finishing projects or setting out paths for the new year. No family dinners around the table. Instead we’ll be grabbing food on the road, spending long hours wandering hospital halls and haunting 7/11s when the need is dire. Rather than playing board games and reading books by the fire, we’ll be doing Sudoku and flipping through magazines until the doctor finally comes.

And then there’s the worry. Have I mentioned the worry?

The poignant part of it all is that as I worry about plans, and hopes, and organization, and as I worry about it all “going off the rails,” my father-in-law is strapped down in a hospital bed wondering if his heart will explode.

In moments like these, it’s good to remember that it’s not about me. It just isn’t.

It isn’t in my control. I wish I could say that it was a super spiritual thing to admit: “let it go,” the spiritual say. It’s not, really, though. I’m not in control of any of this anyway.

It’s not about me.

So while there are 32 things to worry about, the only task before me is the one of letting it go. Can I die to this anxiety? Can I surrender this need to control the universe? Can I trust that there is an Authority greater than my own?

I can when there is a class to teach or a lesson to prepare. Can I do it when all there is is silence and waiting?

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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10 Responses to Day 2, Off the Rails, and That’s Okay

  1. WriteFitz says:

    Ack! I feel your frustration. My mom went in the hospital unexpectedly on Dec. 13th. Just got out of rehab (and is now staying with me), yesterday. It has been an out of sync season, to say the least. I keep reminding myself it is NOT about me but Him! But it’s ridiculously easy to shift my focus back to myself.
    Praying for your F-I-L.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting how priorities abruptly change when something difficult suddenly happens. One moment, we are so focused on an everyday element of our lives or our to-do lists; the next, our worlds are rocked, agitated, or even turned upside down by an unexpected blow from life. Suddenly, everything our minds and hearts were so invested in before seems to shrink in comparison with this new force of harm, pain, or wrath. Still, as we become adjusted to that change, it is difficult to focus on the right things. I’ve had a couple of such crazy experiences these past couple months, and they have all led me to the conclusion that the only thing we can sanely do is take these adventures–both good and evil– step by painful step.
    Anyway, safe travels, and I hope/pray for your father-in-law’s safe surgery.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don Johnson says:

    Is 30:15 – For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (ESV) I pray for you and your family that God will be your refuge at this time of uncertainty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sue Archer says:

    Life has a way of interfering with our plans. I hope your father-in-law’s surgery goes well. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The hard thing about routines is that they feel so all-or-nothing, at least for me. I feel like I have to do them perfectly, or else I might as well give them up entirely. My goal is establish a routine that gives me enough structure to deal with the unexpected, but it’s easier said than done.

    I hope that everyone is home and healthy soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jubilare says:

    “We are probably doing things because it is easier to do things than to just be, to just wait.” It’s a good way to deal, I think. Better than many, at least.

    I was ten when my father had open-heart surgery. The clearest thing to me about that time is how I felt. There isn’t much difference, perhaps, between the powerlessness an adult faces at times like this, and the powerlessness of a child. I’ll be praying for your father-in-law and, you, and all your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hadn’t realized that this is the back story to your next post in the yellow hotel room. Praying that this is a time of peace and comfort for your family. I’ve been there, and know that it might not be. But I do know that your desire to be able to trust and surrender will be accepted, and you will find strength, and know that Love is there.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dawn says:

    I was telling a friend yesterday how infuriating it was to have people tell me to embrace the waiting of Advent while I was taking care of Mom last month. He said, no, it’s not Advent. It’s Gethsamene. There is dread and impatience and uncertainty. Some of us will be off sleeping in the woods, but we are nearby and ready when you need us.

    Like

  9. Dawn says:

    If this is a repeat comment feel free to delete it. I’m not sure if it got posted.
    I was telling a friend yesterday how infuriating it was to have people tell me to embrace the waiting of Advent while I was taking care of Mom last month. He said, no, it’s not Advent. It’s Gethsamene. There is dread and impatience and uncertainty. Some of us will be off sleeping in the woods, but we are nearby and ready when you need us.

    Like

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