Plans of mice and men
"Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!/It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!" n1 lamented Robert Burns when he had unwittingly turned up a mouse's home with his plow. On reading those lines I could sympathize with Burns, but I actually felt more like the mouse!
n1 Robert Burns, "To a Mouse";
No, my house hadn't fallen down around my head, but plans to enlarge it had. Our family had grown considerably, and with sleeping quarters minimal, something had to be done.
We thought we knew what it was. We would build an extension to the north. Original house plans included drawings that showed us how to do just that.
But before long we found to our dismay that our building plans meant breaking a city regulation. It seemed the extended house would be coming a few feet too near our neighbor's lot line.
Applications were made, meetings attended, and finally we were given a variance. But winter had set in rather early that year, and in our part of the world we don't undertake a major building project once that happens.
I thought of Burns's poem: "Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste,/An' weary winter comin fast." Later the poet says: But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promis'd joy.
Then, and only then, did I wake up. Could it be that I'd got so involved with what i felt was needed that I'd let human will take the place of prayer? I knew that Christ Jesus, under far more difficult circumstances, had prayed, "Thy will be done," n2 and I resolved to do the same. As I reached out to my Father-Mother God with all the humility I could muster, it became clear that I'd have to find a better sense of home right where I was.
n2 Matthew 26:42;
Were our quarters crowded? Then, I'd turn to God, divine Principle, to show me how to reflect a better sense of order. Did tempers fray when five people under one tiny roof had different ideas about how to work, rest, or play? Then, I'd turn to God, divine Love, for guidance in how to think and speak and act. Soon I began to realize that there were not five minds but one Mind, God, reflected individually by each of us. Every morning started with prayer and more fervent study of the Bible Lessons in the Christian Science Quarterly;m every day became a challenge to live what had been affirmed in prayer; every evening was a time for reviewing the day's efforts, a time for prayerful resolution that tomorrow would be even better.
And as hours of daylight grew longer, as birds returned and snow started melting, an interesting house plan evolved. I'm not an architect in any sense of the word, but it became clear to me that we could build on the otherm side of our house with better results. We could increase storage and sleeping quarters, but we could also turn the living room into a dining room and build a new living room that would even include something we had never dared hope for -- a fireplace!
The building project was accomplished quickly and well.
That was over twenty years ago. The children are off on their own now, but the house plan continues to work well. Burns was right when he said human plans don't always work. Yet when we're willing to trust God -- not passively, but actively --solutions come. "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need," n3 as Mary Baker Eddy n4 writes. The best solutions may not always be what we had in mind, but when we pray sincerely and bring our lives into conformity with our prayers, when we really learn to know God better and know ourselves better as God's image and likeness, good things happen. Divinely influencedm plans work out.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 494;
n4 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE God shall bring every work into judgment, . . . whether it be good, or whether i t be evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14