The Plans That We’d Made

Dearest Rachel –

I’ve already talked about a couple of Christmas-adjacent songs that talk more about staying inside and avoiding the worst of the weather, that either leave me envious of the couple that can do just that together, or make me worry if I have to become some kind of creep in order to engineer that sort of companionship in the future. Either option is fairly unpleasant.

Today’s song is a little more familiar and, to be honest, upbeat enough both lyrically and musically that it doesn’t sting nearly as much as most of the rest of the ones I’ve been (and will continue to be) going through this week or so. And yet, it still has its moment, its lines that leave me wistful for days gone by and a future that will never be.

If I accept any theory regarding the existence of a multiverse (or, let’s face it, infinite multiverses, because if there’s more than one, there presumably are all of them), then I have to conclude there’s a version (or a whole bunch of versions) of me and you that are continuing with our life together, blissfully unaware of the tragedies that never overtook them in this and other such ‘verses. Whether they’re actually walking together in a winter wonderland is somewhat irrelevant (Sorry, Greta!); what matters is that they – we? Does it still count as us if it’s a different version of us? – are still walking together.

I don’t mind telling you, I’m jealous of them. But what’s to be done about it? We can’t even get out of the solar system, let alone find some way to get to other universes, and that’s just assuming that they exist. And then again, who is to say that all the other versions of us are together and happy? I’m sure there’s a vast majority of them that never even met. What they’re doing, and what the worlds that they’re living are like, can only be guessed at.

In the meantime, I’m left in this universe to go over ‘the plans that we made.’ And where do I start? We had so many places that we wanted to go, that I’m not sure I could think of them all for a single letter. I’ve mentioned our hopes to go to Japan together (as opposed to our separate journeys there before really meeting each other) and bringing Daniel along to show him the places we’d seen. We also talked about bringing him along to Israel the next time the church got together a tour group; and indeed, he was on your mind the last time we were there in 2018. All I could think of to pray at the Wailing Wall was the stock line at the end of so many of the psalms of ascents, “Let there be peace in Jerusalem.” You, on the other hand, told me that you were praying for the girl that you hoped would come into Daniel’s life someday.

At this point, it would seem that neither prayer has been answered thus far. What with the Dome of the Rock evidently having been used as a makeshift armory for Palestinian rioters, Iran purifying uranium past the point where it’s needed to be for mere energy generation (and you can guess what that means they intend to use it for), and the fact that, unless heaven itself drops a girl directly into his lap, nothing’s happening in Daniel’s social life, things haven’t changed much on either front.

For that matter, international travel in general isn’t happening anymore, either; even as my own trip got scrubbed at the beginning of this month, so too has the entire world decided to shut down yet again in the wake of the omicron variant, which for its part, has gotten tons of stickers on its suitcase regardless of any such preventative measures. My point being, the church’s plans for Israel have been postponed. Some plans, it seems, are just not meant to be made for now; travel plans in particular.

So what about our plans for our home? It’s been at least five years – and I think it might be more like seven – since our built-in oven gave up the ghost. We promised ourselves that we would replace it, until it turned out they didn’t make built-in ovens of that size anymore. So we made do by getting a toaster oven, and stuffing it inside the dead oven to serve most of its original purpose,

and promised ourselves yet again that we would remodel that kitchen, when we had money and time… and a clean kitchen. We knew we were kidding ourselves about that happening, but the hop was still there, and we never completely let go of it.

It seems a shame that it took your departure for us (Daniel and I still count as ‘us,’ even if he doesn’t take a particularly participatory role in the process) to make any progress on this plan, but progress is being made. In fact, later this morning (when I can get to the ‘office’ where my drawing tablet is), I’m to sign off on the contract for the installation work to be done on the kitchen, the laundry room, and the bathroom (where they’re going to finally put up the lights and medicine cabinet after nearly twenty years since we started that project).

So many plans we had, honey… and you’re not here to see them come to fruition. Of course, the song only talks about plans made, too, not plans finalized, so… maybe I’m reading too much into it.

Still, if you’re able to watch from where you are, keep an eye on it all… and wish us luck. We always need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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