July 9, 2017
Sometimes the best times are the unplanned times. I didn’t know until after dinner that we would be watching three of our grandkids tonight while their parents went to watch a Shakespearean play at the ArtPark in Buffalo. Do the math, and you’ll figure out which set of grandkids we have. If you aren’t good at math, ponder the Shakespeare part. You’ll get it. Once the sun started sliding behind the trees, we all came inside where the fun really began. Popcorn and dominoes were the order of the evening, followed by cutthroat games of nines. No one asks for mercy, and no quarter is ever given, but the cries of victory and groans of defeat are both met with laughter.
The parents had planned on picking them up late tonight, but got out later than planned, so we gave the kids the option of getting woken up in the middle of the night or staying till morning. Three guesses as to which they chose. The first two don’t count. So as I prayed with Ian, I thought about the privilege of having them live nearby and of being retired and available for unplanned sleepovers. We’ll serve up a good breakfast in the morning and send them home, with gratitude and overflowing hearts.
There are plenty of times we’ve planned and worked hard for a blessing, but there are also plenty of times all that hard work and planning came up empty. But the unplanned gifts stand out all the more just because they were unplanned. I never dreamed that evening when I sat down in the lecture room to watch a documentary on mental institutions (that’s what they were called back then), that someone would plop down next to me, saying, “Hi! Remember me?” Or that that someone to whom my response was, “No,” would be the one I would marry a year and a half later. Totally unplanned. Total blessing. I never imagined that three years into retirement, I would be preaching regularly again, something I always said I had no interest in doing.
Someone once said that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I think it’s true. I’d rather hear his. They surprise me, but never fail to bless me.