Posted by: L. E. Barnes | January 1, 2010

Make God Laugh

So long, 2009. Now if we can just remember to write 2010 on our checks…

The turning of the year leads many of us to stop and reflect on our lives. Yours truly is no exception. Feeling dissatisfied with certain aspects of my life, I’m trying to develop an action plan for making some changes. But This afternoon I came across  a reflection on the arrival of 2010 by fellow blogger Joan Ball that makes an excellent point. Having read a number of people’s plans for the future, Ball observes,  “Whether listed under the heading of resolutions, goals, guiding principles or dreams and wishes, many of these folks seem to have a clear vision of where they are going and a decidedly confident sense of how they intend to get there.” Then comes her wry comment: “I used to be like that.”

It’s been said that the best way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans. If that’s so, then God probably just about fell off His throne in a paroxysm of laughter whenever I would tell Him mine. As an adolescent and a young adult, I thought that I had my life mapped out, with no unexpected twists or obstacles. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As Joan Ball points out, circumstances beyond our control can easily derail our plans and take us in expected directions. Sixteen years ago, I was a college freshman planning to major in political science and become an attorney. I even went into ROTC, thinking I would be a hotshot JAG lawyer (along the lines of Tom Cruise’s character in A Few Good Men–I envisioned myself gesticulating dramatically and yelling “I want the truth!”).  However, developing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) made hash of that idea and kept me from having either the emotional stability or mental clarity to perform at my best or make good decisions. I did try divinity school, but I crashed and burned emotionally and ended up leaving my Christian faith for several years, going through what I now refer to as my “angry agnostic” phase. I did manage to get an MA in English from East Carolina University, thinking I might become a professional writer or a college professor.

I’ve worn several hats since then. I taught English in Costa Rica for about a year, worked a few temp jobs at ECU, and now work as an adjunct English instructor for a community college. As a brash college freshman, I would have scoffed at the idea of being in the position I find myself in now!

But most of all, my younger self would doubtless have scoffed at the idea that I would become a Catholic convert–especially a convert seriously looking into the priesthood! God, however, had the last laugh…

So when developing plans for 2010, we would do well to keep in mind the famous line from Robert Burns’s poem “To a Mouse”: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/ Gang aft agley….” Or in other words, things often don’t turn out as we expect them to! But sometimes that can be a blessing, with the demise of one plan leading to new opportunities.

Life has taught me I can’t map out my life with certainty. I thus  join Joan Ball in saying “So come 2010, come. Bring blessings, challenges and everything in between and the strength of character to face them with grace, honesty, wisdom and gratitude. Surprise me 2010. Guide me toward a deeper love for God, my family, my friends and my enemies. Change me 2010. Help me to become more of the [person] I am meant to be and open doors for me to encourage others to do the same… “



  1. wow Evan I can’t believe how beautiful those pictures are! I had no idea how artistic you are! very cool!

    • Thanks, but I’m hardly artistic! I just snapped those with my digital camera. But I’m glad you liked them.

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