I noticed recently that two of my favorite film directors, Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach, make reference in their films to the same joke, Q: “How do you make God laugh?” A: “Make A Plan”. Of course, since neither of them believes in God, I assume it’s their cute way of expressing how life rarely, if ever, unfolds according to our plans.
This may not be the most profound insight out there – plenty of artists have riffed on it – but that doesn’t make it any less true. And it certainly doesn’t prevent most of us from disregarding it in our day-to-day lives. I know I, for one, am endlessly making plans and getting upset when people get in the way of those plans.
Emily Dickinson articulates the opposing, more passive view in poem #875. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think it jives pretty closely with the whole New Testament understanding of “life by the Spirit”:
I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea.
I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch —
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.