Ready for the journey? Um, no.

On Saturday afternoon, I came home from grading at my office (otherwise known as Peet’s Coffee and Tea) to find that the boys had packed three large suitcases for our trip to New York to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  In spite of my queries, it remains unclear as to whether this activity happened with or without Daddy’s consent  (I am guessing not).

What was clear is that the boys were astonishingly thorough in their packing, omitting neither swimsuits not pajamas nor stuffed animals, all of which were piled in the suitcases.  Matthew had even made a checklist of what to take, so he would not forget anything essential like his toy dog,  the camera, the camera holder, or magazines.

ready list

One little downside to their zealous packing: this New York trip is not happening anytime soon.  We don’t have airline tickets yet, nor do we have firm dates (maybe late July?).  So we all spent the latter part of the evening unpacking and putting the contents of the suitcases back whence they came.

But those boys were ready, by gum!  They were all ready to go.

Readiness, to me, is a pretty elusive state these days.  To be honest, I feel like so much of what I do happens before I’m truly ready to do it.  I don’t have a chance to figure out the fine points of my lesson plans before the bell rings.  I don’t have a chance to buff up the prose on my blog post before hitting “Publish.”  I can’t find time to iron the kids’ Easter shirts and so I end up sending my boys forth, rumpled, into the world.   But I’ve also found that if I wait until I feel completely ready before I do something, that something is likely never to happen.

Once upon a time, I had this theory of life.  Life happened in stages, and if you wanted to be truly fulfilled, you had to thoroughly exhaust each one before moving onto the next.     You weren’t ready to be married until you had thoroughly “done” the single life . You weren’t ready to be a parent until you had “done” a few years of marriage, just you and your spouse.   I’m not saying that this theory was totally wrong, but the years since then have taught me that life is a lot more fluid than I used to think.

For starters, I’ve found that there are some things you are never really ready for.  Not surprisingly, parenthood is #1.  No matter how thorough your preparations or how detailed your checklist, you can never be one hundred percent packed for this adventure called Motherhood.  There’s always something essential that didn’t make it into your luggage.  But here’s what else I’ve learned:  you don’t have to have those things with you when you start the journey.  In some astonishing, nearly miraculous way, you end up finding them  along the way,  usually right when you need them most.

There’s an old proverb that God doesn’t call the ready; God readies the called.   I couldn’t agree more.  That’s why it’s okay if my suitcase is only eighty percent packed.  The rest will take care of itself.

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