Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Best Laid Plans

As I sit down to write this, within minutes the jet that was to carry us towards Oregon will roar over my head. In grief and regret, I remain here on the ground feeling groundless.

What was so joyfully planned and anticipated is postponed. No matter the good reasons, my eyes well with a deep sadness for once again disappointing my Oregon daughters. We talked and cried together on the phone last night. They have generously expressed their love and granted forgiveness, but still the gap of 20 years since visiting their Oregon homes may stretch to 21.

Typical of reunions, a cold that swept through the family in Maine has landed hard with me. In these few days between coastal visits, an agenda of tasks, reports, deadlines, applications, paychecks, etc, etc, seemed insurmountable to my swollen head, and I collapsed accordingly.

Plus, shouldn’t the World stop to watch the Olympics?

Most importantly, I juggled our trips around too many events to keep the summer straight, and failed to take into account pre-season soccer beginning 3 weeks before Labor Day instead of two. My son’s coaches were very unforgiving when asked to consider his absence for a week instead of one day. In college, I had been unable—even after two years—to overcome a coach’s disappointment over a lesser transgression. I could not bear the responsibility of a similar blight on my son’s career.

I could have boarded the plane this evening on my own, but the deepest struggle—the one that had lain painfully beneath the surface for weeks—was now exposed. As much as my heart longs to see my daughters and sister in their homes, no matter how much I want to stand on the edge of the earth looking for whales and eagles that still circle so many years since my living there, I am not ready.

Although this trip would have contributed greatly to my personal healing in some ways, there is business that must be organized here before I can go anywhere else. It is clear to me that my past is littered with postponement of business for pleasure. Often choices have been made to take the vacation despite failing contracts and runaway obligations. Blindly, I might turn towards the reward before the profit was earned. The largesse of my family and friends that have tolerated and supported me like a well-meaning addict cannot last forever. I could not take one more adventure on the promise that I will be better for my work upon my return.

The reward of a peaceful trip must be earned.

So tonight my daughters go about their daily chores sadly, my son kicks the ball despondently. My heart aches with a raw clutch of tears as if I have failed all my children once again.

In retrospect, I could have planned this better, been more realistic about my ability, my time, and my finances. I could have better cared for their feelings. It has been painful for all of us to dangle this, then snap it away.
Even as the plane now roars overhead (literally), two seats short of full, I am planning how to reschedule for myself a few months from now, for both of us in the Spring, perhaps even for all of us this summer, a trip to embrace my daughters as a man who has earned the time to revel in their homeland.

Please share with your friends


Anonymous said...

Beautiful words...

Anonymous said...

Sorry to read of your disappointment. I hope that you're able to take the trip in a couple of months, or maybe next Spring. Despite the difficulty of the choice, in regards to your business, you probably made the correct choice. Another turning point for you it seems :-)

jouette said...

stumbled upon your blog.
man, you really touch me. your writing is ... my mind says beautiful ... but my heart says exquisite. thank you.

Rita said...


So sorry to hear that you missed your journey, and that you have not been feeling well. Many other non-thinking people would have gotten on that plane - infecting everyone - and completed the journey that you KNEW had to be postponed.

I give you a LOT of credit for understanding that the things that must be tended to will STILL be there. But one should not work to the point of collapse. Do you believe that your family would have wanted such a thing?

Though you do not sound like a person who likes to put things off - there is a difference between having to postpone something and procrastination. In a few months, or another year, you'll have even more memories to recount on your trip.

I hope you feel better...and that you take the time that you need to do so. That was a beautiful post!

One question: WHY is it always Emmett Kelly's sad face clown that we use when we're feeling down? So strange...


TheElementary said...

A very fine read, this was.
I believe in the idea that we're all right where we're supposed to be. There's a time for everything, even though the immediate days will be sore ones.
When you're ready, you'll go to Oregon.

Jaime said...

Even though I'm sure this was a hard decision for you, it is a wonderful thing that you are listening to your heart and honouring your own decisions. Sometimes that can be so difficult when it disappoints others, but you are doing what is right for you and that is so important! Everything will work out, when the time is right.