October 21, 2011

Lessons in Letting Go

I remember Mom telling me years ago that she was the kind of person that mapped out every second of the day, and how deviations from her plan would frustrate her a great deal.
And I remember her telling me sometime later down the road, that maturity and life had helped her get past that so that when plans changed, her world was not turned quite so upside down. She has gotten so much better at rolling with the punches. Her latest blog post is evidence, as they hit some glitches on their trip, and she was able to get past it and write a very cute and humorous description of their adventures and how much they ended up enjoying it.

I share this with you, because I have learned that, though my need to schedule and know what's going on isn't as intense as her's was, I do have a tendency to make plans and then fall apart when something messes them up. Living with Malcolm and living at the ranch is teaching me to get over it.

And I share that with you so to lead up to my story today, about lessons in letting go.

Malcolm told our broker on Tuesday that we needed to go home next week, and would prefer to get there on the early side of the week. As usual, once this official announcement is made, my mind goes into fast gear, arranging and rearranging what all I want to do while home and the order in which I want to do it. And as I plan the anticipation builds and builds.

On Tuesday afternoon, the broker told us after we delivered in California, we'd take a load of fertilizer to Idaho, and it only made sense to us that he'd be working us home from there. And our minds settled on that and snuggled into that knowledge. So on Wednesday morning when the broker called and said that from Idaho we'd take a load of fertilizer to Texas for Friday, and then run a short load over the weekend, and then reload Monday morning and deliver in California Tuesday, my mind kind of short circuited because to me "home earlier in the week" meant I was home by Tuesday afternoon. Home any time after Tuesday is "later in the week" to me.

I tried to suck it up and act like a big girl, and mostly succeeded for a while. I only let two tear drops escape. And then I became angry. Really really angry. And as usual, as unfair as it is, I kind of took it out on Malcolm. I was angry that we were going so far from the right direction for so many days. I was angry that after almost nine weeks on the road, our broker hadn't recognized my NEED to go home. I was angry that I was sitting there watching all my plans and my precious schedule fall apart like a domino chain. And I was angry at Malcolm for not telling them that this wouldn't work. I was angry!

Fortunately for Malcolm it was his turn to go to bed, and so he was able to slip behind the security of the cab curtain. Bless his heart, here he was worn out, wanting to go home as much as me, and add to that, sick since loading pea flour Monday night (he breathed in too much of the stuff and has been plugged up, raw throated, and feeling miserable ever since), and now his wife isn't talking much and starring at the road ahead. I'm glad for his sake that he got to go to sleep.

I made it out of Sacramento without killing anyone. But my anger was growing and turning to rage. I was raging inside. Raging against trucking, how it was cheating me out of experiences and time. And I raged against Malcolm because he wouldn't say "no." I raged against him even though I knew I didn't have a good enough reason to. I got angrier and angrier, and those poor California drivers...it was a selfish day on the road in California. Everyone was being pretty inconsiderate and it did not help my mood any. I'm sure some of them had singed bumpers from the looks I gave them as they passed, not to mention I had a terrible time staying close to the speed limit. The angrier I became and harder it was to care about the speed limit.

Eventually a little voice started nagging me in the back of my mind. It would whisper and ask what was I doing? And I'd block it out and rage some more. A minute later it would come back and whisper, "you know what to do." But I'd push it aside and rage some more. Why is it that we hold on to anger so much? I don't know how it is for men, but why do we women almost relish staying in our anger? I was coming to realize this was silly, but I didn't want to let the anger go yet! I wanted to be angry! How much sense did that make?

The urging voice whispered again, "You know He has a plan. You know there is a reason for this change in your plans. You know it will all work out and you'll still get home and everything will be just fine! Why are you doing this?"

I literally rolled my eyes at this, and calmed for a moment, but then started thinking again about the big weekend I had planned. A special weekend for me and Malcolm that I'd been looking forward to for 8 weeks! And so much of what I wanted to do in the week after that, hinged on accomplishing some things that weekend. Postponing my plans till the following week would ruin everything! I returned to my hot anger.

But maybe the voice of reason was getting through a little. I don't now, but finally between angry thoughts and threats and venting, I paused for a one line sobbed plea, "God, please fix this!" I was so mired down in my anger that I couldn't manage more than that.

And I went back to my anger again, though a little less heated, but still strong and feeding itself. Have you recognized how very frustrated I was? I was, as usual, over reacting, I know. And I knew that all this was going to work itself out, but I also knew MY plans were all messed up now, and it was just more than I could handle at the moment, obviously. But a minute or two later I was able to take a deep breath and put forth a second request. "God, Please help me."

I was still angry. It just kept coming in waves. But maybe 45 minutes later as I was nearing the California/Nevada line I realized I was daydreaming about my horses, and that I wasn't angry, and that I had even thought to take a picture for the blog as I crossed the Sierra Nevadas.
And I thought to myself, "It will be OK. I'll just deal with whatever happens, and we'll figure it out as we  go.There IS a reason for this, and regardless of when, we will still be going home and I'll enjoy it as much as I always do."

At the state line, the curtain unzipped and Malcolm was awake and coming up front. He was about 45 miles early, and I tried to tell him to at least go lay down and rest till we got to the fuel stop. I wanted him to rest because he's been feeling so rotten all week, but even more, I was afraid the fire of my anger was only smoldering and I didn't want to burst into flames again and burn him.

He came up anyway and sat in the passenger seat and we were silent a few minutes. And then he told me he hadn't really processed the time frame for the loads the broker was giving us, and that it was cutting it too close for our weekend plan.

I told him I figured we'd just do it the following weekend.

"Why not go during the next week?" he asked me.

"Because, we have to help ship calves on Monday, and the accountant isn't in her office on Tuesday, and we have dentist appointments on Wednesday, and at some point you have to haul your Dad's cow's home from summer pasture. So we might as well wait till the weekend and that will just have to work."

He sat for a minute, then said "Going to Texas and California messes up everything. I'll talk to the broker in the morning and tell him it would be better if we could go home from Idaho if possible."

It had never occurred to me that he hadn't figured out how close it was cutting our time. I had been blinded by my anger and decided that he just wasn't willing to tell them no.
Another pause, I swallowed my pride. "I'm sorry I took out my frustration on you. That wasn't fair or nice."

It wasn't even 5 minutes before the phone rang.

It was our broker, calling us from his cell phone at home, because office hours were over and he was off duty for the evening. But he had taken off from his personal time to call and tell us the farmer in Texas had just called to cancel the load. So we wouldn't be going to Texas, and thus our California trip wasn't going to work. He was working on figuring out what to do with us from Idaho.

Malcolm told him it was OK, because we really needed to be home sooner anyway. "Oh," the broker said. "I didn't realize. Well there's nothing going to Montana, but we can try to get you to Washington with something and maybe get a load of sunflower seed to Minnesota and then find something there back to Baker or Miles City. I can probably get you home Wednesday at the latest."

After fueling, and eating, and getting the truck greased, Malcolm went back to bed. He was starting to feel rotten again.

And so I drove east, further into Nevada towards Idaho, and God and I had a little conversation which started with a thank you, and a big "I'm sorry."
I'm sorry, Lord, for letting my emotions rule my thinking and not leaning on You. I'm sorry for ignoring what I know. Because I know that You have a plan so much greater than my own, that You have reasons for everything you allow to happen.
And most of all, I'm sorry because I know the right thing to do in any situation is to let go and let You do your job!"

I didn't know what His purpose was in allowing that little episode in my life, but I knew, as that little nagging voice kept trying to tell me, that He had it under control and He had a plan. Even though I was trying to ignore what I knew, I still knew it.

I believe now that I know what His purpose was. He was giving me yet another lesson in letting go. Another reminder, as I need one often, to let go of my plans, let go of my need to know what's going to happen, and rely on Him to direct me on HIS path, down His chosen road, to be apart of His plans. And He was reminding me that sometimes He's just waiting for us to ask for Him to help because He wants to be a part of our lives, even the mundane ordinary parts.

Even the little things can pack a powerful punch. And don't ever think that God only concerns Himself with the big stuff in life. He answers the smallest of requests. Even the "God please fix this" about a silly schedule mix up. And sometimes the answer is "no" but take notice. I asked 2 things. I asked for him to "fix this" and I asked for him to "help me."

He "helped me" first, helped me calm down and accept what was going to happen.

So that even if his answer to the "fix this" had been "no," I would have been at peace with that.

I was and still am overwhelmed with gratitude for His lesson in letting go.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


TexWisGirl said...

i liked this so very much, sarah. i, too, have found myself in similar situations - working myself into a frenzy of fear, anger, etc. and almost unable to see my way out of it. a deep breath, a whispered prayer, can make all the difference in the world - to just put the problem outside of ourselves, outside of our minds for a moment...


ACountryCowgirl said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!! I can so relate!! Especially with the housing situations lately. Thank you for being so open and honest and sharing your struggle along with how GOD worked in your life!! You are such a blessing in my life and GOD had that planned:)

Dreaming said...

Great post. Great lesson. I've had that happen to me and I've felt so. very. bad! Who was I to fly off the handle and get so darn mad?!
Glad it all has worked out. Yup, God knows!

Carol in Colorado said...

It's rather humbling to make plans, have those plans disrupted, and have God make it alright. He has plans for us whether we want to go that way or not.

I hope you get home soon to get a break. Malcolm, get better soon!!

Be safe!!

Michaele said...

Thank you so much for this post and this huge reminder. I can't say enough how I needed this also.

Jake said...

I totally understand what your talking about. I deal with a temper every day and try not to let it run my life. I have a choice to give in to it or not. It mostly raises it ugly head when I have to turn a wrench. Yuck . :)
Think positive, And all the blessing you have in your life.

Shirley said...

His ways are not our ways... to let go of our own will, our pride and ego, is so difficult. This was a beautiful lesson in trust for you, even though it was a little rough to get through, it will likely be a life lesson to you.
I recently did a post on my other blog about the relationship between trust (in God) and confidence (that He can and does hear us, and is doing what is best for us). We are taught to rely on ourselves to get us through any given situation, so to let go and trust in Him takes effort- and confidence. He is there for us; all we have to do is ask.

Jim Fisher said...

You react to change in plans the way my wife does. I feel for Malcolm.

small farm girl said...

I needed to read this today. Thank you.