Jackie Gingrich Cushman

I'm a planner. When I worked in finance, I loved planning the budget process -- how would it unfold, who would be involved, how we would ensure we met our target. I was most satisfied when we had made all the plans and were ready to begin.

Now, as a wife and mother of two children, my plans are routinely thwarted by the realities of life. My plans -- which allow me to feel as though I am control even when I am not -- are often overrun by a husband who loves impromptu events and children who continually interrupt plans.

I find myself interrupted by life, while others are interrupted by death. A longtime friend told me two weeks ago a story about his father who had recently died. His point: that life was what happened after everything else was planned, and deciding whether to be happy was a conscious decision. His story reminded me of John Lennon's quote "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

As a nation, we also like to plan. We forecast economic metrics, plan what we are going to accomplish and with whom we are going to communicate.

Historically, we have been able to plan -- with a reasonable degree of certainty -- on our children living better lives than we do. But this plan is a lot less certain these days.

We worry as a nation: Will our plans work out? Will our children be better off than we are?

This past Sunday's sermon has led me to rethink the value of planning. Delivered by Canon George Maxwell Jr., at the Cathedral of St. Philip, the biblical readings focused on faith and readiness.

The Old Testament reading, from Hebrews, focused on faith: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." The New Testament reading, from Luke, focused on being ready: "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit ... for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

This passage has always left me apprehensive, as well as excited. Would I pass the test when the time came?

In school, I was a good test taker; I would set aside hours and hours to prepare.

But like everyone else, I am human, and have made mistakes; this testing would be different.

God's message, delivered through Maxwell, added a different perspective. "I think that Jesus is making a different kind of announcement," Maxwell said.

Instead of a test, "I think he is inviting us to participate with him in an adventure."

Gosh, that sounds a bit like my husband -- always ready for an adventure, even when I am not.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.