02/19/2016 11:25 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2017

When Life Doesn't Go as Planned

"There is a war that each of us fights within ourselves. When unforeseen difficulty arises, when our initial choice demands of us a sacrifice we did not foresee and when this sacrifice we unknowingly chose strikes at the very heart of what we cling to, what will we do ?" -- Steve Kellmeyer

The honest simplicity and devastating complexity of these words spoke to me deeply when I first read them.

They could have been written for me or indeed, for anyone.

We all have plans and dreams for our futures that we cherish and nurture. We often hold these plans close to our hearts, an interior blueprint we can refer back to and attempt to build our lives according to. Some of us are inflexible in our pursuit of our hopes and desires. We often must learn flexibility the hard way.

We all have things we desperately hope for. Things that keep us awake at night. Things we break our hearts over, will fight with everything we are for.

We eventually learn through the years that we don't always get our way. What we want is not always handed to us regardless of how hard we fight for it or how much we want it.

However, sometimes it is. Sometimes we are given just what we ask and plan for.

But what if those things we accept and make room for in our lives because they fit with our master plan for living suddenly present us with unexpected challenges? What if they wreak havoc rather than bringing fulfillment? What if the things we choose willingly lead us to other things? Harder things? Things that crush our spirits, break our hearts, things we wouldn't have chosen to face?

It is then that this deceptively simple question arises. When we are shaken to the core of our being by circumstances we did not expect, could never have imagined, what will we do?

What will we do?

The way we answer this question can be the making of us. It is a question of strength. Even if we are smashing our fists into walls in anger or crying ourselves to sleep for nights on end, it is still a question of purpose and resolve.

What will we do if our initial choice demands of us a sacrifice we did not foresee? What will we do if this sacrifice we unknowingly chose strikes at the very heart of what we cling to?

When our faith, hope, optimism, and happiness are challenged to a paralyzing degree, what will we do? Despair? Quit? Leave?

Will we find what we claimed to believe really means very little when put to the test? Will we leave, abandon what we have committed to? Will we be able to live with ourselves, with the truth of who we are? Will we find the strength to believe again and hope in things that seem impossible and beyond our understanding?

The answer will be found in how easily we can let go of our cherished plans and expectations. Will we fight being offered a new path, a new plan or will we allow ourselves the gift of not knowing where we may go next, the gift of possibility. Do we stubbornly cling to our ideas of what should be or do we live in the essence of what actually is?

Can we take the broken pieces of our perfectly planned futures and understand that the perfection was always an illusion? That we and the lives we lead are beautifully imperfect.

Can we find the courage we need to veer wildly off course?

Life is full of hard, beautiful, broken things and wars we fight within ourselves.

May we learn to see it as a great adventure, perhaps especially when things don't go as we planned.