Saturday, April 30, 2011


I’ve been thinking a lot about how we react when something doesn’t turn out the way we planned it.

Last weekend was kind of a study in that. I had spent the past few months putting together a flawless plan that would have been absolutely fantastic had it worked out right. My dear friend Joy would be coming up on Friday. That night we would celebrate my birthday. The next day my brother Flynn, my sister Mercy, Joy, and I would go to Sixflags for the whole day. That evening Family Force 5 was playing, a band we all love. I had managed to get incredibly good tickets.

The first kink ended up being that we had far too much to do for Friday. I recognize now that I had been overly ambitious in thinking it was a good time to celebrate my birthday, but I basically wanted that out of the way as fast as possible. Regardless, celebrating my birthday ended up being allotted about 30 minutes of eating pizza with my family before Joy and I went to see Eisley in another city.

The Eisley show was good, but also not as planned, because the lead singer got sick so last-minute the band had to pull together a set that did not rely on her. They did an amazing job anyway, but it definitely wasn’t how they’d planned it.

The next day we headed to Sixflags. The day itself was pretty good. We rode a few of my favorite rides, and even in the long lines we had a good time talking. When evening came, we went to the big stadium where I’ve seen Skillet the past two years. The sky was cloudy, but everyone was hoping the rain would hold off.

We got to see Lecrae perform, which was excellent, and then we sat through Hawk Nelson impatiently. Right as Hawk Nelson was nearing the end of their set so Family Force 5 could play, someone came out and announced that due to lightning we had to evacuate (major flashbacks to two years ago).

We all shuffled out of the huge stadium. Joy, Mercy, and I sat down on an open area of cement and talked and waited and watched the lightning. Eventually they let us back in, and we sat down for a few minutes before they came back out and said we had to leave again. This time, Soul Glow (of Family Force 5) got up to apologize. They said that we would get to come back, but by this point I knew better. A few minutes after we got out this time, they announced that the show was entirely cancelled.

This was somewhat dispiriting. It is a three hour drive to Sixflags, and it is very expensive to get in, and all of us had made serious sacrifices to be able to afford it. I had managed to get such good seats. And we didn’t get to see them.

So we went and found a random Denny’s. We ordered pancakes and a bacon sundae and talked and laughed and greatly amused and confused our waiter. Then we started the long, long drive home.

The next day was Easter. This year our celebration was incredibly low-key. The rest of Sunday was a sort of steady downhill, enough so that I won’t go into it.

Suffice it to say that by the end of Sunday, so many things were going wrong that it didn’t bother me anymore. A friend of mine summed it up well: “Not problems, hilarious twists!” And that is sort of what it became for me. I simply decided not to take it too seriously. They evacuate us from the venue? OK, we’ll sit here in the rain and drink soda and make fun of the ridiculous country music they’re playing. They cancel the show? OK, we’ll go and eat bacon and pancakes and drink coffee at Denny’s at midnight. A sibling drops my birthday cake upside down on the dining room floor? Alright, I’ll pick it up, scrape it off, and stick it back together the best I can.

But there are other twists that are a lot harder to do that with. Sometimes some of the twists steal my breath for a while.

For years now, I have considered this upcoming summer to be very significant. I had planned for it to be the summer that I already had a car, that I went out of state to do an internship, that I started moving away from the prison of my college. That is so, so far from how reality is turning out.

I pursued three internships, all of which I was passionate about. Every single one fell through. I will spend all summer working at the library. I will not get to go spend time with all my friends in Colorado-- I’m missing the moot for the first time since 2007. My sister, who is one of my best friends, is going to be in Japan all summer, and though I’m ridiculously proud of her, I’m going to miss her terribly. This is also the first summer with my older brother moved out. All my friends from school are going home, and the two local friends who I spend the most time with are leaving for most of the summer too.

When I actually find time to think about these things, it proves incredibly discouraging. I have had a growing feeling for the past two years (especially as I approach graduation with absolutely no plan and no hope) that my future is sort of a lost cause.

But in the midst of this I am trying to remember again to look at all this, take a deep breath, and welcome the adventure. This summer I will do the only thing that still makes sense to me-- I will work as much and as hard as possible, and on weekends I will drive all over the state and indeed all over the country, chasing music. Two festivals and three individual shows are lined up so far. And if all of this is taken from me too, I will still be able to curl up in my room with my guitar... there will still be places for joy.

This is a blog post of questions, not answers. But I think maybe things I've said before apply here too. Maybe sometimes things have to be taken from us just so that we can learn that we never needed them. Maybe sometimes God has to black out every other light so we can see His light better. Maybe sometimes I just need the terribly painful lesson that I can’t make things work, and I wasn’t ever meant to (since when was it my right to order a world I did not create?). And maybe instead of letting all these hilarious twists trip me, I need to learn how to dance with them...

Peace to you.
- Elraen -


ironicdaisy said...

This was a beautiful post and a lot that's been on my heart lately as well. I mean...approaching the future with no plan. Waiting and waiting for a point to all of this. And I guess I constantly have to throw my priorities and plans down and tell God that even if I don't get to do anything I hope in this life--even if I feel like the greatest loser ever born--that His love is still worth living for, worship makes these weary days so worth it. We're a beautiful letdown...salt in the wound. :)

James Burchett said...

Great post. I am a quote-collector-fanatic, and you just gave me my new favorite one ever. "Maybe sometimes things have to be taken from us just so that we can learn that we never needed them." So true, all we need is Christ. He is sufficient. So simple, so difficult. Praying for you, in our journeys of heart opportunities, may he continue to draw is under His wings.

James Burchett said...

(By the way... this is Joani. Didn't realize James was logged in... lol)

Eclectic Elegance said...

Ooh. I liked this post. :) I needed the reminder. *hugs*