Life Interrupted: It’s Time to Start a New Plan

My life is directed by my calendars, both paper and electronic. One tells me where to be with my family; the other tells me where to be for work. Sometimes the two overlap in order to force the one to yield to the other. These calendars are very closely monitored by the month, the coming week, the next day. They contain the most important upcoming “don’t forget” milestones and projects, those demands on my time that keep me grounded and moving forward – always forward – at high speed.

Baseball practice with weekend tournaments, Varsity Softball games for my high school senior, ACTS Retreat meetings, Aggie Ring Day on TAMU family weekend, First Communion, elementary field trips, and AP tests. A fresh new year guides me, reminding me to relish my family’s big moments building up to senior year awards, prom, high school graduation, and a college study abroad, before kicking off the summer ball tournament travel season.

And then, on Friday, March 13, our world began to change rapidly, As everything important to me was first suspended, then postponed, then cancelled, until all the events that direct and dictate my life dissipated into an empty void, I put these calendars away. Days we looked forward to in joyful expectation now felt like many little deaths, as each one passed without the happy moments we’d planned for and worked towards with so much eagerness. Each day snuffed out, leaving us deflated with a feeling of immense loss and disappointment.

For the first five weeks, as my family adjusted to the new at-home isolation and struggled with online schooling, my essential work in the office grew more intense. Until suddenly it wasn’t.

At home for the first time in decades, I am finding peace and rest in the pause. Every day I thank God for the beautiful spring weather – although I’m really not sure why mosquitoes exist – and that no one we know has been affected by this virus.

Still, some days I feel hollowed out. It’s an odd feeling to be facing a blank slate, seeking purpose and direction.

This morning my mind wandered to that calendar in the drawer. The one holding onto my old plans, a time when I felt in control. To look at it means seeing those lost weeks (months!) and remembering everything we missed. However, it’s time to replace old expectations with new memories – to begin dreaming again until we find purpose in the small things we can control. It’s time to fill a new calendar with plans for a new direction.


Shelly Henley Kelly