We’ve all got a Plan A. It’s the life you always pictured yourself living. Some of you are picturing the house with the little white fence, or maybe the super hip downtown loft apartment.. Maybe you wanted to be a musician on tour, on some red carpet someplace, in a pool full of supermodels… a doctor, a lawyer, own a business, maybe even the White House… It’s the life you dreamed of but was completely unrealistic. It’s what looks like the better-than-best case scenario. One of Murphy’s Laws of Combat says that all plans work until you include the enemy, then they fall apart, which is where Plan B comes in.
Plan B is the life you ended up actually going after. For some of you, you’ve hit pretty close to the mark.. you’re a doctor with a pool and a Porsche, but $1 million in debt. You’ve made it into movies, but nobody knows your name and you die in every scene you get cast in.. You just released an album on iTunes, and you drive a 84 Civic and watch the Grammys in your underwear eating Cheese-Its.
Maybe Plan B has gone better than you expected! If that’s you, then congratulations! Some people dream of a family, and as long as they have a wife and kids to come home to at night they don’t care if they sit at a desk, work in a factory, lay concrete or sell insurance. Some people want to be soldiers and make their families proud… and from what I hear once you sign up for that they don’t really give you the choice to fail! Some of you own your own businesses, just like you always wanted. Some of you have a wooden plaque on the front of a pulpit where you stand and teach week in and week out. The point is, there’s nothing wrong with Plan B. Plan B is life, it’s your life! Parts of it may be disappointing, and other parts are so absolutely beautiful they make you cry at the thought.
At some point during Plan B it starts raining crap. Your company shuts down, your spouse packs a bag, the doctor says it’s cancer, there’s a fire, a car accident, a robbery… maybe you just do something idiotic… Welcome to Plan C.
In Plan C The heat turns up and your friends turn out to be made of plastic and melt away… your phone goes silent overnight.. the bills start to pile up and you don’t even bother opening them.. you fall into a bottle or a bed with a stranger.. you spend your nights in the blue light of a TV, not really watching anything… over time you slowly float back to the top of the bottle. You start to smile again, you find another job, another house, someone else who says they love you. You learn to look at the bright side of things again. You surround yourself with distractions, good things, but still distractions. You pour yourself into your work, or you start to travel or read books you never would have otherwise. You take up photography or kite-boarding. You buy a blood red 2013 Mustang Cobra. A lot of people make a joke out of this and call it the “mid-life crisis” , but it’s really just the later part of Plan C… realizing that Plan A was a joke and we just want to go back to Plan B, even if it was a disappointment because it’s better than this. Most people just lift their chin and focus on the things that keep them distracted from the tears always pushing behind their eyes or the lump in their throat that must always be re-swallowed every time they hear a certain song on the radio or walk past a certain park bench. Plan C is making the most of what you’ve got left… living with the heartache… it’s living with what life has left you.. it’s letting the past dictate your future. …but there are some people, bloody few people, who search and find something better…
Plan D is the escape plan.
This is where you wake up one morning and feel a little more strength in your shoulders than you should and when you stand up the world seems to shrink back a little.. things that normally get under your skin or make you sweat suddenly look small and laughable.. your boss seems shorter, the sky bluer, things don’t seem like they happened yesterday… the car and the house and the bills look like paper and wood and junk and you realize that you own your life, it doesn’t own you. Your past has changed you, but it hasn’t pulled you down to it’s level. You’ve been hurt, maybe hurt bad, maybe even knocked down and out for a long time… but you’re still breathing and still you. You are not just the sum of what’s happened to you or the mistakes you’ve made.
In Plan D you hear God whispering, ‘behold, I am making all things new’.. and you stop hiding… either from the past or behind it… You throw away Plans A, B and C… you stop letting your past control you. You stop the cycle and the pattern. The past will always be with you, but you learn to stop running from it, and also to stop holding onto it. You stop feeling guilty, you stop feeling oppressed. You forgive yourself of that stupid mistake (or all those stupid mistakes), you forgive ‘those people’ and the chains start to come loose..
Jesus said,”The Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may find abundant life!” – John 10:10 There’s a crack in the wall… a missing bar in the fence… a lock Satan forgot to click shut because he thought you were too lethargic to ever crawl to the gate and shake it… Plan D is a note passed through the fence that says ‘come to me…’ then flares and floodlights, air raid sirens and barking dogs.. but you’re already at the shore. they’ll never catch you… because you’ve hit the water and it’s washed you clean, and nothing will ever be the same.
Here’s to Plan D.