Get a plan. Work the plan. But doing so is no assurance the plan will ever be completed. Something may happen along the way which changes everything.
A healthy woman in her thirties goes under for minor surgery and suffers brain damage. A law enforcement officer retires with thirty years and meets the end in a vehicle accident a few months later. A hard working family man in his early fifties learns he has a terminal disease and not much time until the end. These are true life experiences from the past three years. They are tragedies and it is not certain that good planning would have altered the outcomes.
Life changing events pop up with regularity. We plan for the big items, and then get surprised with crises which come out of left field.
This time last year, the mother of a friend fell and broke her back. She is in her late eighties, and her husband was ninety. She had been more infirm than he for years. He was in remarkably good shape for a man his age, ever careful about maintaining his health. He quickly set about caring for her every need, mindful only of caring for her. She got good medical care and he was completely supportive. Then one day he had a spell, laid down, and passed away in an hour or less. He was gone, and she remains alive and coping today.
I knew a couple in which the man was ten years older than his wife. She was always the one in good health. He had a variety of health issues. No one would have guessed he would outlive her, but one night she passed away in her sleep, while lying beside him. She had always been so vibrant, so lively, that her passing seemed impossible, but it happened.
Life constantly throws us these kind of curve balls. We are ready for that pitch down the middle of the plate, but we don't see that curve ball coming right at us until it breaks away.
We have to keep planning. We have to continue trying to live sensibly. We exercise. We watch what we eat. We attempt to limit our risks by being smart about our behaviors. But sometimes the fickle finger of fate has a different plan.
Some believe that everything happens for a reason. While everything does happen for a reason, the reason may be something as simple as an inherited trait which manifests itself as an aneurysm in the brain, which triggers a fatal event.
We cannot know the future, but we must plan for it nonetheless. If that plan goes awry, the best thing to do is make a new plan and keep going. A primary lesson from death is that the living must go on. Stability? An admirable goal, but often an illusion.
© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore, All Rights Reserved.