As we were preparing to go hike the view, take some pictures, enjoy the day before Christmas, a bit of unexpected Christmas drama poked her finger into my husband’s eye. It changed the day completely. Now, instead of enjoying the company and the hiking and the view, I’m sitting on a couch in a house that’s home-away-from-home, with the perpetrator sucking juice and chowing Goldfish next to me, while the hospitable hosts take their morning run (well, I guess it’s afternoon, but who’s keeping track of time during Christmas vacation?) with the dogs and Hubby treks to the urgent care (though I don’t think they’re open since they didn’t answer their phone) and probably lands himself a wait at the ER.

It’s certainly a different take on the day.

And, in keeping with recent reflections on the birth of Jesus and leaving for our Christmas Trip, I can’t help but think how that trip to Bethlehem right at the end of her pregnancy must have been a bit of unexpected drama for Mary and Joseph. Just what they didn’t need before Baby’s birth – a long trip, a smelly old barn, a host of visiting shepherds, a race for their lives when Herod found out the Messiah was in town. Just what they weren’t planning for in that final time of preparation – making sure the swaddling clothes were packed, getting the donkey ready to go, figuring out what to do about provisions.

I picture that Birth I am awaiting too: I see Joseph fussing about, and then calming down. I see Mary, with her faith so strong, her trust so secure, her knowledge so sure that God would provide. Ah, how I can name the ways I should be more like Mary right now, as Hubby calls to say the urgent care is closed and the accountant in my brain racks up the fees the insurance company will no doubt send for the “quick trip” to the ER. Oh boy, how I need to trust God right now, as I stack the “what if” questions in piles in my brain: what if he can’t cut firewood on those days off when we return? What if he can’t fly home? What if we have to find some expensive treatment? What if, what if, what if? Ah, how I need the strength of Joseph as I sit in a strange-yet-comforting home, with my daughter entertaining herself and my mind crunching possibilities; how I need his ability to listen to the angel, to heed what God told him, to do what his family needed.

As I wait here, alone with my daughter and the view, I’m going to pray the rosary, because maybe what I need more than anything else is God to just hold me, to tell me it’s OK, to guide me in the choppy waters I’ve mostly created myself.

Yes, I’m a bit panicky about the eye. And I’m a bit worried about Hubby. There’s a part of me that’s also sort of stomping around in my head. “THIS isn’t what we had planned,” that voice is screeching. “Ah, yes,” replies another voice (which I’m not sure is mine), “but sometimes there are things better than what you have planned. Sometimes, the fun only just begins when you get away from what you’ve planned. And sometimes, what God has planned is different than what you had planned.”