The Wonder of the UnPlanned

The Wonder of the UnPlanned

Lots of us recovering control freaks still want to construct the world according to the vision we have for what we know to be the best course of action for us and those around us. (Exhausting even to read!)

But this week in my clicking, (particularly via Jon Acuff’s blog) I’ve encountered fun conversation about the glory that often resides in our mistakes. The best experiences might require a few mishaps to intercept and improve our meticulous planning.

Last weekend our family lived through an unmistakable example of this phenomenon.  If you follow the path, you’ll see the head-shaking wonder of the unplanned.

I booked our annual trip to Platt River National Campground back in January.  This wonderful campground books up quickly so I selected a weekend based on the few open sites still available for June. As June approached, filled with family events and College Son visiting, I pulled up the confirmation email to verify my meticulous plan. Could it be? Our reservation neatly tucked between Volleyball Tournament and YoungLife camp!? Victorious again (yay me).

Problem: I pulled up the 2011 reservation email instead of the 2012 reservation.

But in my blissfully ignorant state I rejoiced over having Eldest Son home for this great weekend of outdoor fun and all plans working beautifully. Until it hit. Upon further study, I realized our actual 2012 reservation was for a weekend later in June and totally unavailable for us.  Frustration attempts defeat. But determination wins the battle.

Thanks to I changed our reservation, but the only availability was a group tent site – Friday only. No Saturday. I’ll take it. And here’s where it gets miraculous.

Since we could only get Friday, Steve and I decided to rent our favorite trailer to keep the set up simple. Then we could wing it for Saturday night.  The rig was available only because the folks who normally rent it for this week cancelled yesterday. Wild. Keep going.

On verifying equipment, I found that the new site I booked wouldn’t accept a rig, so I had to search for trailer sites.  There was one site available, and it was open for both Friday and Saturday night. Crazy. Only one site.

So, the reason we rented the rig was because we only had one night; and the way we got two nights was only because we had the rig.

As we parked in site 121 and Jack made friends with the neighboring 7 year old, we learned that their parents had that site booked until only days earlier, when they had to cancel.

Can you see this circle of dominoes? The Ripple Effect. At least three unrelated families make decisions and work their lives, affecting our experiences that make life-memories to last forever.

We can only marvel.

Steve and I rested Friday night as the rains pelted the roof of our comfy, solid rig.

All those little dominoes falling. A series of seemingly unfortunate events, converging to make a weekend of memory-making.

We asked the Park Rangers to gift our now-unused tent site for Friday night if anyone showed up needing a place to pitch a tent.  I have no idea if that domino fell into someone else’s life picture.


Do you have a time when a mistake created an even better experience than you could have planned?



  1. Beeka
    Jun 12, 2012

    What a wonderful experience! Better than plans. Loved it.

  2. Evan Forester
    Jun 13, 2012

    Funny how things work out!

    My favorite one of these stories is from a guy who discipled me when I was a high school student living in Atlanta. He said when he married his wife he promised her they would never live in Atlanta and she promised him they would not have kids.

    And yet, there they were, living in Atlanta with 7 teenage daughters!!! Crazy how God pulls these sort of things off.

    • Suzy
      Jun 14, 2012

      Hi Evan!

      I have a few of those “realized nevers” .. I really avoid the “N” word now.


  3. Mark Grace
    Jun 14, 2012

    My mother was known to encourage us in the middle of disasters with “No it is NOT a disaster, it is an adventure!” I continue to firmly believe to this day that THAT attitude is the single requirement for turning inconvenient turns of fate into moments of wonder. Thanks for posting!

    • Suzy
      Jun 14, 2012

      Thanks for this, Mark. My husband mom says “you can do it the normal way …. or you can do it the memorable way!”
      Glad you wrote,

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