(Or is it the other way around?)
Yesterday was Valentine's Day. And there's this expectation that I, as a single girl, should call in sick, watch Beaches and Steel Magnolias, and eat a pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk. Nobody mentions Valentine's Day around you when you're single, the way no one talks about wedding plans with the recently divorced: they're not sure if doing so will result in a news item referencing them as "collateral damage."
But I'm not anti-V-Day. I agree with the idea that it's overcommercialized (what holiday isn't?), but I'm completely in on a holiday celebrating love--if anything, I think we just limit it too much. Because I had the best Valentine's Day ever yesterday, without a romantic interest in sight. Some similarly single friends suggested we get together and throw a party, and it was awesome: we wore old prom/bridesmaid dresses, brought food and flowers and chocolates to share, decorated the CRAP out of Anna's dining room, and had a hilarious evening of awesome. There was no moaning or bitterness, no man-bashing or whining. I've rarely fallen asleep feeling so totally loved and blessed. I have love right here and right now, regardless of the whereabouts of my future husband. Huge love and thanks to my beautiful friends Anna, Esther, Holly, Sarah, and Lauren. :)
"If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." I thought this expression was much older, but it's credited to the still-alive Woody Allen, so just kidding. At any rate, I thought of this yesterday morning, and I realized that I really don't like it. I acknowledge Woody was being, well, Woody, but it stuck in my brain enough for me to want to blog about it (so it MUST have gotten jabbed way in there).
I don't think God laughs at us--which is to say, I think there are times when we warrant a holy eye-roll or a bemused smile, and certainly times when He laughs, to coin a phrase, with us, but I don't think our making plans brings out the critic in Him. He has plans for us (Jeremiah 29:10-14), and His thoughts and plans have more depth, then ours (Isaiah 55:9), but I don't think that causes Him to see our plans as laughable. I need to find what work this is from, but I've heard that C.S. Lewis describes the relationship as a detail of shepherds watching sheep: sheep will settle for whatever water they come to, however unsuitable or polluted it might be. And while, to a sheep, the shepherd is dragging him away from perfectly good water, the shepherd knows that the shallow puddle is nothing compared to the springs on the other side of the hill. The reaction isn't laughter, but a sense of applied direction and at times, urgency. God isn't saying our plans our terrible; they're just not enough to satisfy Him or, in the long run, ourselves.
Cue Seamless Conclusion:
I made a little present for each of the girls last night, involving a couple verses from Isaiah and Jeremiah: "I [the LORD] made you, and I will not forget you" (Is. 44:21) "With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself" (Jer. 31:3). In making the presents, I had to stamp out those words nine times, and each time it pounded deeper into me. The Channy Translation would go something like this: "I am the LORD of all things, not the least of which is you, Chandra, and every little detail that makes you. And while, yes, I have full knowledge and understanding and compassion over your dreams and plans and hopes for a husband, that is not, in any way, the scope of my plans for you. I dreamed you up and gave you the capacity for dreaming. I made you, and set in your heart the desire to make a life. And I have not forgotten you, or any pieces of you. I don't intend to. You are loved to extremes that you cannot understand, so trust me when I say, with the compassion and love of a Father: I HAVE THIS. I have you. There is nothing you know that is outside of my jurisdiction and my control. So take all of you, and rest in Me."
We agreed last night that we need to do this more often than once a year. The idea of Valentine's Day is not to cram all demonstrations of love into one day to free up the other 364, but to purposefully set aside time and opportunity to enjoy and appreciate and speak and do--to put life to our dreams and love to our plans.