Robert Burns was widely regarded as Scotland’s national poet. However, his poetry is known beyond those boundaries. One of his poems, To a Mouse, gives us a line that is frequently quoted, although paraphrased to a degree. The line is: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.” The paraphrase is: the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. Burns wrote the poem after disturbing the nest of a mouse. He realized that the mouse had diligently planned for making a dwelling place. After destroying the nest, Burns’ poem is an attempt to apologize to the mouse.
How often are the plans we make disrupted? How do we react to the needed, yet sometimes, unwelcome change?
My reactions to disrupted plans are sometimes less than desirable. I might complain, or get grumpy, or become anxious, especially if the shift in my plans may institute the need for others to have their plans disrupted. Changed plans are inconvenient, right?
James gives us this wisdom: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. (James 4:13-16)
These past two years in the midst of a pandemic, the best laid plans are frequently interrupted. The reality of tremendous disruption has hopefully given shape to our humility, to rely comfortably on the old adage, at the end of making plans, “the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Or in this season of the year: the snow doesn’t pile up too high and the wind doesn’t howl to strongly. Yet, my arrogance still slips through, and I react with disdain when my plans go awry.
Maybe I should post the Burns poem, the verses from James, and the old adage in prominent places to remind me to relax when things turn our differently than I planned. It might be good to add another of Burns’ quotes to the list, as well. There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing. (Robert Burns)
To what do you turn or to whom do you turn to aid you through plan changing times?
Recap: Worship, Jan. 30, 2022
Queen Esther took center stage, once again, during worship Jan. 30. Her life and actions offer guidance and thought about the ways in which we are called to times of involvement, the purpose for getting involved and what impact that purpose has on our lives, and what may be the most appropriate ways of employing power once it is within our reach and grasp. We would be prudent to use power in ways that will not embarrass the community(ies) in which we engage.
An abridged version of a story by Olive Shreiner was shared during worship. The unabridged version of the story can be accessed with the following link: The Metaphor … A Healing Way: A Dream in the Desert …Olive Schreiner (1920) (thebookmetaphor.blogspot.com). If you would like a printed copy, please contact Pastor Kevin.