“Man Plans and G-d Laughs”


“Man Plans and G-d Laughs” is an old Jewish proverb. The quote is to remind us that G-d, the Universe, Spirit, or whatever you prefer to call the divine force, is the master planner. No matter what path you choose to go down in your life, if you are hit with an obstacle, rest assure, there is a reason…He* is the master planner.

Life has been good to me lately, I recently celebrated my 29th wedding anniversary, my children are healthy, my daughter is expecting her first child, work has been flourishing, and the book I contributed a chapter to has finally been published. Every day I feel gratitude and I am full of positive energy.

Every summer we try to plan a family trip. My children are older now so coordinating a trip where each of my kids can partake in has become more difficult with each passing year. This year, we planned to go on a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea. Taking my pregnant daughter’s growing belly into account, we believed a floating hotel on gentle waters would be bearable. Of course, we considered taking air conditioned cab rides on most of our excursions. This would be a luxury that we would have to indulge in just so that my pregnant daughter would be more comfortable in her present condition. Since this was last minute, we paid our trip in full. Two weeks later, my daughter’s mother-in-law reached out to me to inform me her friend’s daughter couldn’t go on a cruise because she was pregnant. I quickly called up the cruise line to ask about their policy. They told me that they just received an e-mail to enforce their policy of not letting a pregnant woman on board who was 24 weeks pregnant. Caroline was 25 weeks pregnant at the time I called. When we filled out the guest questionnaire, I had come across a question about physical conditions, “i.e., wheelchair, oxygen, food restrictions.” There was nothing about pregnancy. Nevertheless, we were forced to cancel our cruise.

So what to do with our Delta flights? We decided to change our destination. My family suggested Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam. My husband and I toyed with these destinations, but my senses kept telling me, “no.” I wasn’t comfortable having my pregnant daughter traveling from city to city, even by train. Then my older son said his boss decided he needed him that week so he couldn’t travel with us. My husband and I continued to ask friends for suggestions and names of tour guides, hotels and sights. Soon my son-in-law complained that he would have to work at his law firm’s sister firms when we were overseas. That was discouraging. Later we heard  there were terrorist explosions in different cities in Germany and again my senses did not sit right with me. Then my older son, who had to stay back, tore his ACL at a basketball tournament. We had to schedule his knee reconstruction surgery. Finally, my other daughter developed strange symptoms like swelling and rashes. We went doctor hopping hoping to understand where these symptoms came from but we had no answer. There were signs everywhere… I sensed them…we haven’t booked our hotels and tours yet. We finally decided to listen to these signs and canceled our flights the day before departure. It was a good thing because Delta had a glitch in its computer system and all Delta flights had to be cancelled…we would have never been able to leave NJ where we live.

The following week, I spent three days moving my older daughter into her new apartment, I spent a day moving my younger daughter into her new apartment, I got my younger son off to college and my older son had his knee surgery. I have been nursing my son for two weeks. My husband and I missed a good friend’s wedding and dinners with friends. I put aside my business (except for my recurring clients). Our vacation turned into a “home-cation” this Labor Day weekend…without the rest, relaxation and fun.

Signs were being propelled at me from every direction not to go on our trip. I sensed it and I was happy we finally cancelled it. The laborious work of packing, moving, cleaning and unpacking my two daughters and younger son gave me time alone with each of them. The frustrations of going from doctor to doctor without getting any answers, and the around the clock job of nursing my older son have required a great deal of energy. Yet, I am currently bonding with him. It’s been a while. He’s 26, working, living in the city and socializing. I love having him home, taking care of him and reconnecting.

I may have felt a bit disappointed putting my work temporarily aside this summer. I may have been frustrated with taking a break in the momentum, wanting to create new workshops and launch my book. I may have been annoyed that my vacation trip did not pan out. I may have been exhausted from doing my mommy related duties all at once. I may have at times felt I was stuck at home with my son as I help him ice his knee, monitor his oxycoden intake so he doesn’t get addicted, feed him, do physical therapy with him, even emptying out his urinal; but there is one thing I know for sure, I have been blessed with the extra time shared with each child individually and I have a husband who is very supportive and loving. As for my younger daughter, her symptoms dissipated as mysteriously as they developed. Tomorrow morning, I will take my pregnant daughter for her next sonogram. I am looking forward to the next stage.

“He” is like a GPS system. If we choose to take an alternate path, “He” will redirect us to where we need to go to to get to our destination. Let’s not look at our obstacles as a dead end. These obstacles are placed in front of us as a challenge; as an opportunity to become creative and grow; as a time to reflect on why “He” puts the obstacles in our way. There is a reason for everything. We can look at it as something catastrophic or we can look at it as a blessing. Remember, “Man plans and G-d laughs.”

*I use the word “He” as the pronoun for G-d, Universe, Spirit, or the Divine Force.

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