“Man plans and God laughs.” I first heard the Yiddish proverb uttered by Jim Dougherty as a tear flowed down his cheek. That morning, Jim, then a Ventura County, California, supervisor, had been elected board chairman by his peers. About an hour later, his wife became one of the first female high school teachers in the United States to be arrested for having sex with a student.
“Man plans and God laughs.” The proverb came to mind as I canceled the
Writing Accountability Project! (WAP!)
hours before classes were set to launch. I hadn’t been elected chairman and my wife had not been arrested, but life’s journey had taken a sharp turn nonetheless.
My wife, Cathy, was diagnosed with advanced liver disease last July. For various reasons, she is not a transplant candidate. I promised her she would pass to the other side at home, which necessitated me becoming a full-time caregiver. By September, I had resigned from my volunteer boards and committees, dropped all but one of my Toastmaster clubs, and put other plans and commitments on hold. But I didn’t want to completely let go of my life. Developing and launching online classes already were part of my 2019 business plan and in December I created
Then came Christmas, which always has been one of Cathy’s favorite holidays. Cooking and baking are lifetime passions, and the holidays feed those passions well. Cathy spends days preparing the feast, from a brined turkey with all the trimmings, seafood dip to tide us over until the bird finally is done, and, of course, pies. But not this year. She was too weak and disoriented to be trusted in the kitchen and our daughters and I took over most of the cooking and baking chores. That was the final straw, and on Jan. 3 a weakened Cathy told her primary physician she was ready to go into hospice.
Still, I continued with my plans to launch
on Jan. 15. Then God laughed, and on Jan. 14, Cathy’s condition deteriorated sharply. From that point on, she needed 24-hour attention and I could not plan my days, much less commit to a 10-week class. My focus is on my wife’s comfort. Nothing else matters.
“Man plans and God laughs.” That’s the Yiddish proverb. The Pfeifer proverb is: “Life sucks and then you die. That makes today another great day to sing, dance, and laugh.”
My daughters sing to their mom. We dance as we move her from bed to chair and back again. And, like God, we laugh. Plans, however, are in transition.
Managing Partner and Chief Strategist
Consistent Voice Communications