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  • Leslie Tourish

Rerouting Plans? Practice Compassion With Yourself

Change can sneak up on you when you’re not expecting it. Or maybe you just weren’t paying attention. That was the case this week for me, as I looked at my upcoming calendar and thought, okay, these days look manageable. Then suddenly the office manager notified me: it was the day to pack up my office of seven years and move to the new one that had been remodeled.

So the job of boxing up my cluttered office, which I kept saying I would do someday, I had to deal with, like, now. As I lugged furniture around, packing and cleaning, in the back of my mind I could see a clock with the hour hand sweeping away my precious time.

I was longing to get back to my computer and complete a chapter in which my main character will meet her future romantic interest. While I sorted through a drawer of office supplies, I tried to train my mind to think of how they would meet. What would be the first line? How would my character Rachel, who was in no way looking for a romantic interest, see this young man as her young man?

My phone rang, sending those musings flitting away like startled birds. My daughter, who was settling into her dorm for her second freshman semester at college, was calling to see if I could meet her for some grocery shopping. Just a fun mother-daughter outing, which she knows is the kind of shiny bait I’m a complete sucker for. She’s broke; I was too at her age. I pulled myself up off the office floor and drove to meet her at the store where I knew I would (and did) spend too much money.

An hour later, we stood at my daughter’s car in the parking lot, loading it up with her essentials. (I’m not sure how essential chips and cookies are, but if they help her tolerate online classes during quarantine, who am I to argue.) The sun slipped beneath the horizon as she sped off to her university, and I knew Rachel’s story would have to wait another day.

How do you make God laugh? Make a plan. How do you do anything that’s hard and complicated? Keep giving yourself compassion as you reroute your plan.

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