I woke up recently to a powerful realization –

It has been 20 years since I graduated – with my second post-secondary degree.

This was a “OH MY GOODNESS I HAVE BEEN AN ADULT FOR A LONG TIME NOW” kind of realization.

20 years – it is an undeniable amount of time. It is solid and weighty … 20 years. If you have done anything for 20 years – you get a plaque or pen or watch or something. Right?

Graduating with my teaching degree 20 years ago – I felt I had my tiny tool belt fitted out and I was ready to start building a life. A real adult-y life – one which would include a full-time teaching position, eventually a husband, and probably 2 kids …maybe 3. The blueprint was simple, clear, and “god willing” achievable.

But isn’t it interesting how a simple, clear vision is emptied out of all “upset”, all “unevenness,” and anything “unexpected.” Who would enjoy reading that predictable story? But my head/heart desired as normal a life as I could muster considering my early beginnings were rife with “upset,” “unevenness,” and all things “unexpected.” I wanted a TV simple life.

But 20 years ago … all within a 10 month span … my little plan proved inadequate, my tools insufficient to the task, and my vision too small for all that was to come.

First, there came the “upset” — the world’s crowbar prying up my life, my home.

A sister plus a baby after trauma equaled an irrevocable decision to uproot and move back to a place I swore I would never return. Thus opting to leave my established sphere and the groundwork of the life I foresaw. My careful plans – thrown into boxes, rolled away in hopes that I would find myself back again – barring that – at least somewhere equally desirable. Despite it all – I knew it was the right decision, despite my misgivings about the place I was headed, I knew I was moving toward something. My plan could still work out, perhaps with a new view.

Next, there came the great “unevenness” – the tilting of the world upon its head, the shaking out of broken bits, the gutting out of the structure, and then the rough process of preparing a surface for repair.

A father diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer equaled a world changer. The staring down of the inevitable – the long slow walk toward a new reality charging forward relentless, the light of a train barring down. Months of waiting for what came too quickly, too hard upon a heart unprepared. There was nothing to be done but wait and see what remained, to see what the bones of life look like after been stripped bare. My little plans so small in the light of loss – but still they were the warmth beyond the cold, the embers smoldering within.

Finally, my plans fell to the “unexpected” – the plans righted, reworked, and readied for what I had not anticipated.

His eyes; the ones which looked with such intensity, curiosity, and tenderness upon this timid and independent creature. Eyes which could only have been found in the place I had not wanted to return to. Eyes which took in my new life as auntie, full-time sister, and grieving broken daughter and wanted to see more. Eyes which would look upon my plan and ask to add to them his own – building together a new plan. Equally unexpected, was my own willingness to forego my original plans – to let them be rewritten, to be shaken up, and to let the new into my life. Ultimately, building toward a much more interesting story.

20 years ago … my life was turned upside down. I am fortunate to look back at the wondrous underside of it all, alongside the man behind those eyes and our 4 kids, in a place I have grown to love. Our roots go back 20 years – and I am still reaping the rewards which upset, unevenness, and the unexpected have built into the plan, and I am ever grateful. It is all much better than a plaque or watch or pen.

20 years from now – I anticipate there will be even more upset, unevenness, and unexpectedness – I still shake and tremble at their potential to re-write my plan, to turn everything upon a dime. But … I cannot anticipate the winds instead I will need to trust and have faith that my days are in hands greater than my own. The ones which have been re-writing the plan since the beginning, which turned my pale plans into a world of colour and texture and wonder.

This week’s word for #wholemama is: Build. Find us here – Overflow