Best-laid Plans

Rarely do our plans go exactly as expected. We set out with a goal in mind. Resolute in the outcome we move forward trampling anything in our way. Sometimes the path is well thought out, down to the smallest detail and other times its full reckless abandon. No matter the course we take we can see the outcome in the distance and firmly believe that it will be out inevitable future, our preordained destiny. What happens when these plans don’t reach our desired apex? What type of character will we show when we don’t get our way? Will we curse God, the universe, the government and ourselves? Will we have the hindsight to see the lessons taught and the foresight to recognize the future blessings?

I recently lost my father. This was inevitable. I knew that one day in the future I would be faced with the reality of losing a parent. As goes life so comes death. The task of planning a funeral, choosing a coffin and resting place were always in my cards but I felt they were farther in the deck. The day will come and while you always believe that there’s more time there will never be enough. You can easily look at those that gave you life and believe they have more.

Focusing on the logistics I allowed myself to become stoic. I avoided my grief hoping that I could get to it later. I burdened myself with tasks that I felt only I could do and for many this was true. I disregarded the fact that my father was dead and I chose to be dead emotionally as well. While I have yet still to grieve my father’s passing I do know that because I have chosen to not embrace the pain when found me, I will eventually be forced to deal with the full weight that it carries.

Along this arduous path came great blessings and tender mercies that carried me through. Moments of clarity that reminded me of my path. It was not without moments of anger or hurt. Lessons were taught, some clear as noon day while others hid in the shadows and the fog. These brief glimpses reminded me of my origin and my outcome. They allowed for a comfort and firmness when I needed it most. They buoyed me up as waited in my self-inflicted isolation. Memories that I had forgotten flooded my mind. Memories of good times and bad. All of which taught lessons of who I want to be and also of who I ought not to be.

It is only when faced with trial that we develop faith, or fear that we find courage. It’s through pain that we find strength. This will prove true repeatedly as I found it did with me. This reinforced my desires to be a worthy husband, father and man. It instilled a stronger desire to epitomize true patriarchy. Through this trial I was reminded of what a patriarch is and what it is not. I have found myself wanting to be more like my father while also being less like him.

We are engrained with a strong desire to be like our heroes. Our heroes do not come without fault or shortcomings. Too many times our ability to only see the good blinds us from the bad. While other times we find a reason to despise those that love us and only allow what we view as a bad to define them. We change the narrative in our minds to fit the story that we have repeatedly told ourselves. I refusal to accept truth drives us to force change on others. Misery truly loves company as does justification. We justify our actions because we witnessed the heroes do them or the villains avoid them.

While we can be swayed in either direction the path that we are on may require change in our hearts and our minds. When called upon are we prepared to fight. Will we defend our lives, our families, our freedoms and our God? Many believe that they will but have they proven worthy of the large sacrifices by first willing to make the small? When ready to lay down our lives to defend these things are we willing to accept retreat when this becomes our path? As the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

While being a true patriarch does require that we fight and defend truth, it does sometimes require that put our pride aside for unknown blessings in the future. We may have to trade combat and fisticuffs for a warm embrace. We may just be asked to begin a journey into battle only to be told to turn around and walk away. If this happens, will we see the rewards that are meant for us or will we allow our single mindedness to cause anger and strife.

I pray that I can recognize the fights I am meant to have and know when I am to walk away. I hope that I will choose to live my life in a way that exemplifies the lessons I’ve learned and will allow others to feel that I gave them the time that they deserved at the end of my life. While we should not fear death or trial we should not forget to live.

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