Archive | May, 2013

Plan- What Plan

25 May

A few weeks ago, I went to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex in Buffalo. The Martin House Complex is slowly is being restored to its original magnificent state.  Over the decades, the Martin House Complex suffered considerable damage and three of the original five buildings were demolished. I have seen the Martin House Complex before when they began the restoration; it was a shell of the former house.  Martin Complex is unlike any home in the area. It is a statement. Next to the Victorian homes the Martin House Complex is jarring.  It has strong horizontal lines and planes and deeply overhanging eaves and the door isn’t even in the front of the house, but to the side and hidden away.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision was unlike any other architect’s vision; he challenged people to view homes not as a dwelling, but rather an individual reflection of a person. Frank Lloyd Wright planned every inch of the homes he created. The furniture in the home was all built in, so that it could never be moved from Frank Lloyd Wright’s original plan.  In the library he built special shelves, so that the books could be displayed the way Frank Lloyd Wright wanted them to be displayed not vertical, but horizontal. As you walk through the house you can still feel Frank Lloyd Wright’s hand guiding you around, showing you what he wanted to show you.  The restoration is able to be done exactly as Frank Lloyd Wright would have wanted, because he left behind detailed plans of the original Complex.  Frank Lloyd Wright had a vision. He made a plan and it came to fruition.

The other day I came across my plan that I had created when I was in grade 9, unlike Frank Lloyd Wright my plan has not come to fruition. I had outlined perfectly what I wanted my life to be. I will not bore you with the details, but I’ll give you some of the highlights.  At the age of 25, I am supposed to graduate University, get married, and find a job and work hard. At 28, I have one plan to have children, at the age of 30, my plan was to have more children and that is where I stopped.  I guess at 15, I thought that after 30, my life was over. I would have accomplished all I needed to accomplish. At the end of my plan for my life, I stated my goal for living, “To give as much as I can give! Help people! Make a difference in a life! Have children! Be a good mother and wife! Never take drugs… Be there for any friend, family member that needs me. Be full of love for everyone.” (Mandi aged 15) My plan for my life has made a few things very clear to me.

1-     At 15 I didn’t know how to use an exclamation mark

2-     I have mostly stuck to my goals for life, just not in the way I had originally envisioned it.

 There is something wonderfully naive in my plan too. My life is far from the list that I had laid out for myself, I didn’t foresee heart ache or any struggles. It is the heart ache and struggles that build character and allows us to evolve as people.  At 21, I fell in love, but at 23, it was over.  I spent my twenties trying to scotch tape my heart back together. At 31, I moved into a L’Arche home.  It wasn’t the home that I had pictured for myself, but it is a home that made my heart expand.  In the madness and the busyness of the day, I would stand and listen to the sounds of the house and love the symphony of noises; the page being turned, the sound of a marker rubbing up and down as a card is made, the thud of a foot as it descends the staircase, the voices of the home accentuated with bursts of giggles and laughter.  At 31, my life was not what I had planned, but it gave me joy.  At age 33, I was diagnosed with MS and my plan had to change again.  I moved back into childhood home with my parents.  I felt like I had failed as an adult.  The home and job that I had loved was 106.6 Km away.  I had to make a new plan.  My L’Arche family did not forget me and after seven months I returned to work. Working only 20hrs is all my body can handle, but it is a start.

 I have been working hard and adjusting to my new plan.  My new plan is simple, I don’t have a plan. My life isn’t like a Frank Lloyd Wright home, I can’t control it.  I have goals instead. Goals are tangible and can be made into a reality.  My immediate goals are to jog 5km, go on a date this summer, see the ocean, and get a good grade in my next class and try and blog more. I am not being pessimistic, but I have learned that having MS means that I can’t make long term plans. Life is messy and unexpected, but that is the beauty of it, life would be very boring if it happened the way I had planned it at 15. I was telling a friend about how my life plan hadn’t turned out the way, I had planned and she said, “Well, isn’t that exciting. I wonder where you end up”. There is something very liberating about not having a set plan, it frees me to set out and conquer. Conquer what? I don’t know. I am committed to moving ahead and seizing the day.  MS can slow me down, but it can’t stop me.