Sometimes things go wrong.

Like when you are awakened at 4:00 in the morning with a frantic call from your daughter who is caring for your little dog while you are away, to let you know he is in critical condition. And you have to make quick decisions with a wildly beating and close-to-breaking heart.

Like when you get another call fifteen minutes later, from a crying daughter, to let you know your dog has passed away. And you make more decisions through tears, as you cry, yourself. Partly for the dog, and partly for the daughter who is having to deal with it alone while you vacation on the other side of the world.

But then you get another call, another fifteen minutes later, that the dog has miraculously come back to life. While you try to make sense of it, you hear the other news in the form of a warning with words like “5% chance” and “high likelihood of recurrence, if he pulls out at all” and “possible brain damage.” And you ache for the little guy, and, out of mercy, make the difficult decision to let him go.

But your daughter says no, let’s pray. Let’s trust. And 24 hours later, his vitals are normal and he knows her and rolls over for a belly rub upon her arrival, and you sit humbled by a faith proven greater than your own.

Then sometimes other things go wrong.

Like when you get to the airport to head to Venice, after not going back to sleep that night, and find that your travel card is not working. So you call the number on the back to the bank where you have been a client for over 20 years, and they “fix” the problem and then you find it still doesn’t work. Then, when you call back, they discover that the card has been deactivated and it can’t be reactivated. And they do nothing for you but tell you to call a friend. Fortunately, you have a back up card, but you feel completely out of control. Your money is held hostage and there is nothing you can do about it except pray…and trust.

So you make your flight, and get your water taxi, and are deposited on the ancient streets of a floating city, literally weeping at its beauty. Later, you find yourself in the middle of Piazza San Marco, listening to beautiful live piano and strings, and watching children run through the pigeons in the middle of the square, squealing in delight as the birds fly around them. The tower near the basilica chimes, as you sit close to your husband, taking it all in.

Then, from in the slight chill of the evening, you sit, snuggled close in a gondola, as you’ve always dreamed, and you glide through the canals of Venice, with a gondolier singing in Italian. The lights glow through the windows of the buildings where Mozart and Marco Polo once lived, where you slip under bridges that date from the 1300’s, and it doesn’t seem real.

When you tuck into your quaint hotel, and fall asleep with the windows open, you realize afresh that you hold onto the control of your life too tight. You grip it with a stranglehold of desperation, and fierce determination.

But sometimes things go wrong, and you realize that life is like a fist full of sand. You don’t have control at all, and the more tightly you hold onto it, the more the sand slips out, uncontainable.

You drift off to sleep with a letting go, and a realization that the miracles of life come when you live it with hands wide open.


“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 ESV

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 ESV