If It Ain’t One Thing…It’s Another


I grew up always hearing my mother say that phrase: If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.

I have learned the meaning of it at many points of my life. It speaks to the fact that life is full of ‘things’ that pop up in the midst of your best laid plans. As a planner, this concept is always a challenge for me. I must say I’ve learned to just ‘go with the flow’ and essentially expect for things not to go as I plan them. The truth is…it always turns out fine anyway.

This past weekend, I took a couple of days off and went to my hometown of Sandersville. The plan was to soak in the countryside and get a good first draft down for book #2. I opened Scrivener (my project management software), made some edits to the outline and perhaps even Chapter 1 and 2, but progress was slow.

You see, my mother had totally different intentions for my time off. We needed to check her Medicare program reimbursements; fix her new cell phone that all of a sudden made Verizon have horrible coverage; spend some time together; complete various wedding RSVPs & gift-shopping; execute our annual family dinner, etc. etc. etc. {I still have some left-over to-dos, btw}

Her comment: “You just need to take off a couple of weeks to come down here and fix everything.”

I laughed because it was funny and sad. My mother is 70 and raising my young nephew. That is an extraordinary amount of responsibility and ‘things’ she has to do–in addition to trying to understand this technology-driven world. What’s second nature to me, is downright confusing to her. And I completely understand.

On my last day off, I became a little frustrated. I was nowhere near my word goal. I begin complaining–not just about the work-in-progress, but everything. It seemed like every time I had a little extra cash, I had to give it away to some individual/organization. It seemed like every time I made plans to enjoy myself or devote my time to my project, someone was calling for an event for me to attend. I was in full, bratty, it-ain’t-fair mode. In the midst of it, a paraphrased version of one of my favorite scriptures came to me:

Don’t be weary in well-doing…

This rebutted every complaint I could think of.

First of all, God acknowledges that well-doing can be hard, draining work, but you can’t stop. Second of all, it makes you consider the seeds you’re sewing and appreciate your ability to be a blessing. These aren’t just random things that come out of the blue. There is a purpose for each person, experience, word and thing that comes into our life. Sometimes we get caught up in the ‘why me?’ and how–thinking and complaining about how things should have gone vs. seeing that they’re turning out better than we could have imagined. 

As important as writing a book is to me, it is not my life. In fact those ‘things’ help to make me a better, authentic storyteller.

I love my mother, and I am thankful to be the friend and daughter she needs to walk her through these annoying and trying times.

I’m sure you’ve probably felt the same way before. It seems like there is always SOMETHING going on/wrong/off-track.  I encourage you to not only remember that phrase that continuously popped up like a defense around my heart and mind: Don’t be weary in well-doing.

At the time, the latter promise of the scripture wasn’t as pronounced, but I felt a certain peace. Because you know what happens if you don’t get weary? When you don’t give up in the middle of if-it-ain’t-one-thing-it’s-another?

in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

So I’m not as worried about my self-imposed deadlines anymore. I figure, every thing (accomplishments, failures, interruptions, love, promotions, disappointment) happens at the time it is to happen.  There will ALWAYS be something to potentially worry about, but I choose not to worry. I choose to have faith that this thing is happening for a reason and I accept the idea that I don’t have a full, 100% clear picture outcome of this thing. So far in my life, those things = good.

How do you cope with unexpected ‘things’ that arise?