Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

Finding yourself in unexpected places, or . . . the places you’ll go!


This is a photo of my daughter’s cat.  The cat lost it’s nails this year, so imagine her surprise when she jumped into the Christmas tree, the same as she’s always done, to find she had no way to grab hold.  This is how she ended up, looking perfectly comfortable, if you ask me.

One year my friend Linda and I went to dinner at Michael Jordan’s restaurant in Chicago.  Inside the lobby area, there was a photo booth.  Since we had quite a long wait, Linda suggested that we go in to the booth and have our picture taken.  For those of you who know me, you know that I much prefer to be behind the camera than in front of one.  In trying to convince me to join her in the booth, Linda said, “Oh, come on, no one will see you.”   So off we went, into the booth, making our silly faces like most people do and then proceeded to wait to be called to our table.  As the hostess was leading us to our table on the second floor, what did we see?  At that level, on display for the world to see, was a screen that showed everything that took place in the photo booth!  So much for “no one will see you!”

Well, the cat, Linda and I all ended up in an unexpected place, although I think the cat was way less embarrassed than I was.  I don’t know what the “bright side” for the cat was, but Linda and I certainly had a great laugh over our little experience at the time, and it continues to amuse us even today.

So, what’s the point of all of this?  Just to remember that even though where we end up isn’t always where we were planning to go, or to be or to do.  But it may be exactly where God wants us to be.  It’s up to us to determine whether we view the unexpected as an “adventure,” or whether we will let the unexpected stop us in our tracks.  Dr. Seuss had it right, I think, with his little book “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!,” which I’ve included below.  But in Jeremiah 29:18, we are given an even better “guarantee:”  “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord . . . to give you a future with hope.”

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations! Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!  You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!  You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.  Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on.  You’ll be left in a Lurch.  You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump.  And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too.  Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you. All Alone!  Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?  Yes! You will, indeed!  (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!


3 thoughts on “Finding yourself in unexpected places, or . . . the places you’ll go!

  1. Thanks, Becky and Lance for your comments! Lance, you’ve written for the blog before, but Becky, if you’d like to write one, feel free!

  2. So this is the second time today I’ve heard essentially the same thing! God is speaking to me and those around me in ways that may not be what we have planned for ourselves and on our timing. Certainly there are some adventures we’d rather not be on (those that hurt us emotionally, those that we think can’t possibly lead to anything good, those that don’t seem fair, etc.) and I’m trying to develop the trust in God to accept them, learn from them and believe that God has need for me to either learn or be used in this “adventure”.

    Great blog today!

  3. Fantastic blog, Caron!

    The first lesson in Military Lifestyle 101 is textbook “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” Along the way someone gave me the phrase, “Bloom where you’re planted.” I took it to mean I should try to make the best out of less than desirable duty stations (and stop whining).

    Now I realize that God’s voice was the one whispering that phrase to me and I was right where I was supposed to be and the reasons for those places are still coming into view with a long standing faith that I knew there was a purpose behind the place.

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