My friends and readers: Below are excerpts from a memoir/devotional that may take me a lifetime to complete. I’m putting pieces of these together to create this post, “Backup Plan”. As always, I thank you for your friendship and support.
Most Likely to Succeed
I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in my Senior class (don’t be impressed I have awesome friends and there were less than 40 in my class). It makes me giggle. They had faith in me! To be cliché I’ll ask the age-old question, what defines success? To some it’s a life filled with a spouse, child(ren), successful jobs, a two-car garage, maybe a pet, church membership, and a 3 bedroom-2 bath- ranch home. To others the house may need to be larger and display finer décor and perhaps, an expensive car to drive. It seemed my 20’s was predictably paved for me. You’ll need to do “more” Karla to be successful. The pressure took a toll. My psyche lied to me; therefore, I was in denial. Did I have a back-up plan?
We all make them. Some good, some bad. At a time of a great fall in my life (and literally off two wheels) technology was taking over. I remember worrying about keeping kids “safe” from the internet. I can still hear the AOL dialing in and wondering what secret would this sound hold? How would life be impacted? To keep on succeeding I ignored my bruised self. The backup plan was bumpy and unpredictable. But eventually it seemed smoothly paved. All the while my greatest success was still in two boys. The school was also filled with young minds and bodies seeking both guidance and independence interchangeably. It didn’t seem there needed to be another backup plan.
Technology and time
Technology advanced quicker than others’ judgements. Suddenly, life flipped like a flapjack. Lives were dangerously compared when everything went “on-line.” Students were learning more than I could. Being a techy, I kept up the best I could and succeeded in gaining traction. Time flew–especially motherhood as I knew it. Conformity makes you question every “could have been,” “should have been,” or “must be.”
The paved path seemed plagued with potholes. If you haven’t hit one, it’s a miracle. Health challenges hit and halted the hustle and even my hindsight. What’s my backup plan?
What seemed to define me was gone. Everything I thought about future success (kids and grandkids nearby, traveling, career advancing) was different than reality. My backup plan became a mobile home and an excitement about seeking out loved ones, love, and what seemed like success—the back-up plan?
Health and healing
Healing had to come. I could feel it. It’s NOT that I didn’t want to live. Just NOT in pain. Success and a back up plan would always include somebody else. How could I succeed at a back-up plan by myself?
A friend recently shared that you must put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others. I’ve heard this many times from flight attendants. My back-up plan became HIS PLAN. Through HIS plans I CREATED new possibilities, dreams, pothole repairs, and healing choices.
CHANGE…and more change
We all find comfort in routines–the knowing of what to expect. But change is going to happen. So how do you cling to the things you don’t want to change and still experience growth? What if your routine hurts the ones you love? Maybe you don’t seek growth and are just surviving. Perhaps the routine is the only thing you can control. NOT conforming to the world isn’t an excuse to remain in an unhealthy and hidden pattern. Is it? How do we stay set apart, but still impact others? What change will grow your faith? I love holding on to traditions and memories of the past. However, you can become swallowed in swirling thoughts and never move forward. Particularly if you’re someone like me and after all these years, struggle with the empty seats around a family table. But still, I MUST CHANGE. At times, you must separate yourself to seek comfort in your TODAY. Make a new memory! The Pandemic changed us. It changed me. If your rug feels ripped from under you or you are suddenly faced with something new, what’s your back-up plan? To say God has it all is comforting; but he does expect us to make efforts (and hopefully a lifetime of faith doesn’t disappear when things get the toughest). God isn’t going to change…but will you?