The best-laid plans

The best-laid plans

I’M the kind of person who makes a plan—for practically everything.

Many of my trips, in fact, were a few years in the making. Before I even set foot on Mt. Kinabalu, I had already climbed it 50 times in my mind. I had long envisioned base camp before I even saw it—including how I would move around in it— right up to how I could take my stuff into the shower stall and how I could shower in freezing temperatures.

I like to say that my mother raised me like a girl scout: always prepared. But perhaps, more accurately, I can say I’m the kind of person you hire to get the trains to run on time.

I don’t move without a plan. Because I like having a plan—whether we’re going on a three-week trip to five countries or just having dinner. Uncertainty brings me stress. Order calms my mind.

And while I know I can’t control the outcome of everything, I always try to do what I can to minimize the possibility of chaos and disorder. And this is why when I fly, I always pack clothes and toiletries for a few days in my carry-on just in case I should be tragically separated from my luggage.

So, when I flew to Taipei for a brief five-day trip with my friends last October, as always, I left nothing to chance. While it was a bit extra, I still packed enough stuff in my carry-on to last me a few days.

At mid-flight, I stood up to go to the lavatory. As I started walking down the aisle, I felt something weighing my pants down. I glanced down to see what it was and to my horror, it was the outsole of my left shoe coming apart.

I actually had another pair of sneakers in my luggage. And the thought did cross my mind to sneak it into my carry-on. But this was beyond extra, I thought. So, I succumbed to sense and sensibility.

And now I have a problem in my hands. It was not that complicated. I just had to find a way to get off the plane and walk through the airport terminal with my shoes and my dignity intact.

I had asked the flight crew for some packing tape, but the tape wouldn’t hold. I asked around if anyone happened to have rubber bands. Luckily, one of my friends had some in her handbag. Actually, I also had some—but sensibly and sadly locked away in my luggage.

Both outsoles were now dangerously becoming fully detached. But the rubber bands saved the day. They mercifully held my outsoles out of the airport and even managed to make it all the way to the hotel lobby.

I also survived with my dignity intact. God had given me the foresight to put on wide-hemmed pants that went all the way to the floor that day so that the rubber bands that held my sneakers together were not visible at all.

While it’s not so bad to be a bit extra, some of the best-laid plans can still fall apart. At the end of the day, God decides. But He also provides.


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