When Life Happens

I’ve learned an important life lesson over the last week or so. If you try to remodel your kitchen while working on a paper about Jonathan Edwards’ philosophical theology and maintaining a regular work week, things are not going to go well.

Sometimes you burn the candle at both ends. And sometimes you just say “Forget it” and throw the whole candle in the fire.

I’ve also discovered that it feels much better if you refer to situations like this as “life happens.” That suggests a situation that is really beyond your control, something that hit you out of the blue. You are the poor victim of that crazy thing we call “life.”

That’s much easier to swallow than saying, “I’m a complete idiot who bit off more than he could chew and failed to budget his time reasonably.”

Fortunately, my family was out of town at the time. Unfortunately, I always seem to let life skew badly out of balance when they’re gone. It’s as though I don’t think maintaining reasonable work levels is something that I should do for myself but only for the people around me. That can’t be a healthy perspective.

I don’t really have any new words of wisdom to offer from this experience. The lessons are both obvious and eternal:

  1. Plan ahead: Sometimes life really does just “happen.” The future is unpredictable and often chaotic. But we shouldn’t make it harder on ourselves by failing to plan for those things we know are coming.
  2. Be realistic: I knew these things were coming and that they were converging on the same week. But I didn’t face the reality of what that would mean. Some simple calculations would have told me that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for what I was planning. (Oddly enough, days don’t actually increase in length when you have more to do.)
  3. Admit defeat: Pretty early in the week, it was clear that I wasn’t going to finish in the time I’d allotted. But, instead of admitting this, I pushed harder. I suppose that would have been fine if there was any chance that pushing a little harder would make a difference. But it wouldn’t. It couldn’t. It would have been much better if I’d just acknowledged this and then spent some time working through the implications. Refusing to admit defeat when it’s clear that you’ve already been defeated is dumb, not brave.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been blogging much over the last few days. I realize that I’m late in announcing the winner of last week’s book giveaway. I’m going to go ahead and let that giveaway stay open for a few more days. I’ll announce the winner next Tuesday (April 10). I’m also going to try and post portions of my Jonathan Edwards paper here. It gets a bit technical in places, but parts of it are pretty interesting.

Life seems to be returning to “normal.” But I think I’m going to take a few minutes this week to look ahead and see what I’ve planned for the future. I’d like to avoid letting life “happen” again any time soon.




  1. andy says

    I just thought there was some technical problem with the blog since it wasn’t updating. Well, I will admit I was worried for a moment that something bad happened to you since there had never been such a lag for that many days. Glad to hear you didn’t die or anything. Life does happen but I am also guilty of over scheduling things at the same time. Somehow I always think it is possible to do but it never is and you would think i would learn.

  2. Bill Kelsey says

    I am glad to know that I am not the only one that over-commits and ends up under-doing and making a general mess of things! Thanks for the “obvious” lessons. I hope I am not so over-committed that I cannot put these lessons to work!!

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