I am a person who loves a plan. In fact, I am passionate about plans. I really, really, really like to know what's happening, how, and what my part is. I want to make sure that my part of the plan comes out just right. (I think we have probably already established the idea that I have a little issue with perfectionism.) Recently, I became less employed than I wished to be, due to budget constraints in the several places where I work. This was not part of the plan as I knew it. And, wanting to make sure that I was doing my part, I tried to network and put out resumes and nothing happened. I talked to everybody I knew to talk to, and did what they suggested I do. Nothing happened. I painted the guest bathroom for a week or so. Nothing happened.
After the guest bathroom was done, I began to think more and more about how I seriously hate it when I don't know the plan. I don't know what I'm supposed to do, to fix this. I really love what I do, and I want to work! What's so bad about that? Something's supposed to be happening. And it's not. It must be my fault, I'm doing the wrong thing, yadda yadda.
Last summer I randomly picked a novel up off the shelf at the public library, Tim Farrington's The Monk Downstairs. The monk has left his monastery to move back into the real world. He has a few possessions someone has given him, and not much of a plan for anything. At one point, he says something that has become a touchstone for me:
"We are born to love as we are born to die, and between the heartbeats of those two great mysteries lies all the tangled undergrowth of our tiny lives. There is nowhere to go but through. And so we walk on, lost, and lost again, in the mapless wilderness of love."
Here's the problem I think I have. (Well, one of them, anyway.) I forget that I am lost in the mapless wilderness of love. Almost every time I get lost, I initially think it's the mapless wilderness of disaster, and a grizzly bear or creepy fellow hiker is going to get me. It seems like this always takes me by surprise and I always need a little time to remember how to breathe and look around at the scenery.
I'm still kind of lost and confused job-wise, I don't know what the plan is, and I'm hoping to come across one of those big "You Are Here" signs soon. But I'm breathing again, and that's good. Kind of liking the scenery here, too.