I found myself in Plan B

It was during the second week of the Winter Olympics when I first discovered God’s PLAN B for my life.

Literally, I was in PLAN B.

That was the name of the pub I sat in each evening watching the Olympics while I was in Tijuana, Mexico that week. I was in TJ to teach at a YWAM training school. The class was filled with 30 wide-eyed young people from all over the world. What caught my attention that week was not just the community of these young people but the broken community of PLAN B. Filled with young and old, English and Non – English speakers, American and Mexican this pub was definitely a community. Each evening I would arrive at 4 p.m. for happy hour and stay through dinner until mid evening. Though my intake was a beer and dinner it was the pain of this community that I drank in more fully. This place was a community of people in PLAN B for their lives.

There was often only one conversation in the pub. Either you joined it or listened. It was intriguing at first.

Everyone known by name, carried the conversation together and embraced each other as they came and went. Their vulnerability was uncanny. There was, Jim, the middle –aged 400 pound Canadian with his 22 year old Mexican girlfriend. There was the white haired gentlemen, Lawrence, that was relieved to be out of the pressures of American life. There was Alex, who looked and talked like an addict. There were a few couples, a body builder, some single men and several women, very different in ages and appearances, yet all regulars in PLAN B. I can’t forget the community chiwawa, Ginger. The whole community fussed over her. The first time I ordered chicken wings I watched as my returned bones were scraped off and the meat was fed to Ginger, who was stationed in the middle of PLAN B. As I listened over the week I couldn’t help but feel their pain. Some of the pain was deserving and some unjust.

Much of their pain was a collection from travelling life’s roads without knowing how to process it all. All in all they definitely felt at home in PLAN B.

The other day our friend Gertie, Maryanne, I and our kids went to visit another community living under the spell of PLAN B. These are our friends at the picker’s cabins. We spent a good hour as a dozen of us crammed into one of the shacks…talking, laughing, listening. Yes they were drunk, it was the weekend. Their pain always evident. Their lives firmly planted in PLAN B as they hobble along hoping to make it another day without further beatings from their addictions. Sue again asked if I would marry her and Mike this summer, Jose needed help filling out his pension plan as his English is poor. Shirley is being evicted after 7 years of shelter over her head. Addiction has ravaged her body. She may once again have to return to the streets. We listened to their pain and their harsh reality of life in PLAN B.

PLAN B happens for us not when we miss PLAN A.

PLAN B happens for us when we do not engage with the pain in our lives. Life is difficult. When we face the reality that life is difficult we have a fighting chance. The issue isn’t whether pain will come our way, rather the issue is how will we deal with pain when it comes. Suffering is a part of being human and yet suffering can be turned into beauty and life or a life in PLAN B. I have often feared that pain will mark me as damaged goods, unwanted, ineffective…. PLAN B. I spend my life believing that if I am vulnerable and transparent enough, if I make a enough good choices, I can avoid pain. How foolish am I?

As we step into Passover week we discover some of the most unjust pain in history. We discover pain is what a vulnerable and perfect God experienced. God gave up his place of power and position, allowed himself to become one of us. Yet he experienced great pain in his vulnerability. His greatest pain formed the fullness of his Father’s redemptive PLAN for his life and in this case a PLAN A for all our lives. Jesus gave us a way out of PLAN B. Don’t let pain take you into PLAN B for your life. Face the pain, grieve the pain, and find His road of rescue and liberation.

PLAN B happens for us not because of pain but because we do not allow God into our pain… to bring life out of death.

The journey through Gethsemane

The pain we bear
No one finds it fair
Alone in the dark
We are branded by His mark

Life catches us off guard
Through its brokenness we are marred
It brings us to that place
Dependency we face

We spend our lives avoiding pain
Yet pausing there is our greatest gain
Familiar was the story
To the one we follow fully

He was marked by vulnerability
Choosing pain in that garden of futility
Untamed power wielded its sword
Yet his life belonged to the one he loved more

As we reflect on the journey Jesus walked
Though surprised, dismayed and even shocked
He said yes to His father and gave up power
Life would come out of death should he not cower

Surrendering again
Todd Rutkowski

~ by blueporch on March 31, 2010.

2 Responses to “I found myself in Plan B”

  1. HEY Todd, did you write this piece of poetry? Thanks for this post!!!

  2. I have been writing a lot of poetry since I went back to Poland (my roots) last summer. Yes I did write this… late into the night.

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