January 14th 2016 was a memorable day.
Not because it was 20 days after Christmas.
Not even because it was however many days until next Christmas.
It was memorable because it was the day my parents said to me,
“Keep May 19th free.”
The day I suspiciously responded with, “Why?”
The day they said, “Because we’ve booked a surprise.”
And the day my heart sank.
I am not good with surprises.
Plans are my thing.
Plan A, a contingency plan and a contingency plan for the contingency plan.
In fact, the only reason my parents told me anything at all so far in advance was to cater for my like-to-know-the-plan personality.
But they didn’t tell me everything.
And of course it was what I didn’t know that I wondered about.
What could the surprise be?
Horror of horrors, what if I didn’t like it?
Thespian I am not but, between January and May, I periodically practiced being thrilled.
May drew closer.
I rehearsed increasingly manically.
Until, with a jolt, rehearsals abruptly ended.
Because I realised I was focussing on the wrong thing.
And a more ironic realisation has rarely occurred, believe me.
It happened when I was talking to a group about *ahem* trust.
I was talking about trusting God with an unknown future.
So far so good.
Believe it or not, the planner in me does actually find it a great relief to know that someone bigger than me knows what’s happening in my life.
Amazingly, even has a vested interest in it.
The buck does not stop with me.
I am not alone in the good or bad times.
And there are bad times.
You can read more about them here: Still Emily
But, and this is where it gets worse, I was talking about being able to trust God with an unknown future because I know him.
That’s when the jolt happened.
I remembered that I know my parents.
And I am fortunate enough to know that they know me and want the best for me.
They even have vested interest in my life.
So rather than working away at an acting skill I don’t possess an ounce of, wouldn’t it be better to trust them?
To stop trying to control everything?
Recently, my nephew was trying to fly a kite.
I held the string while he held the kite, running as fast as he could on his little legs to get up speed before he launched it.
But there came a point when he had a choice.
Either he could keep the kite in his hand or he could let it go.
If he kept hold of it, the kite would definitely move through the air as he ran.
If he let go, there was a chance it would fly.
Ok, it might nose dive.
It might be no longer even moving through the air.
But that kite might just fly.
And, if he didn’t take the risk, he’d never know what could have happened if he’d loosened his grip.
In the event, he did let go.
Lots of times.
And sometimes the kite nosedived.
I released my grip, too.
I let go of needing to know every detail of my surprise.
I can’t promise never to be a control freak again.
Apart from anything else, I remember someone telling me that saying “I promise” was tantamount to swearing on the bible in a court of law.
And I have no wish to commit perjury.
Unfortunately, the jolt that ripped control from my grip happened just a couple of days before Surprise Day.
I didn’t really have long to enjoy the free time offered by cancelled rehearsals.
But I did have time to begin looking forward with excitement that wasn’t tinged with dread.
Or tinged with the need-to-be-in-control.
Instead, it was more than a bit tinged with excitement.
People, who I trust, wanted to do something special for me.
And I’d finally caught on that that was, well, special.
I was living fully in the now.
And it was surprisingly ok.
I’ll blog about the surprise itself next time, but please don’t use any brain time trying to figure it all out beforehand.
Keep it as a surprise.
Live fully in the now.
Of whatever you’re clinging on to.
Give that kite a chance to soar.
Sometimes it’s better that way.
PS Because my ability to plan is often surpassed only by my inability to keep a secret, I’ll just say that The Surprise served to show that saying I don’t possess an ounce of acting skill was overstating the case…