I’m a little obsessed with journals and notebooks. As a writer, I’m practically unable to pass up a journal that calls my name, especially those with an inspiring image or quote. Recently, when I was cleaning and organizing our room and office, I found an inordinate number of journals that I’d collected. I had to check them to see if I’d written anything in them because I often only write in part of a notebook. I picked up a spiral notebook with “Grand Plans” printed on the front. I assumed that I must’ve written in this one and wondered what I had to say about my grand plans at some previous point in time. I opened the cover and gasped because the pages were completely blank. Not one word. Didn’t I have grand plans?
The fact that I lacked a grand plan in writing bothered me. But I couldn’t just fill in the empty pages immediately because I couldn’t identify my own grand plans. Nothing like writer’s block when you’re thinking about the future. My problem stemmed from my initial perception of the word “grand.” I automatically went to the idea of grand as something big, far reaching, exciting, earth shattering, monumental, and magnificent. Something that would change things and make a huge difference to many people. Something that would bring fame and success. What could I ever do that qualified as grand according to that view?
So, being the word nerd that I am, I followed the course I often take – I looked up the word grand in desperate hope that another definition would suffice. And I found this alternate meaning of grand: “having more importance than others: Foremost” (merriam-webster.com). I liked this different take on the concept. Instead of an elaborate, over-the-top scheme, maybe a grand plan can be relatively simple. When I thought of grand in this way, my perspective changed. I can easily think of plans that are more important to me than other plans. My grand plans revolve around my family – taking care of them, raising my kids to become competent adults, loving them boundlessly, and always having their backs. My grand plans include serving God by helping my church and community. As for my writing, I would love for my future to include wide readership and publication, but even if those dreams don’t come true, it is important that I write for myself and any others who might find encouragement from my work.
My grand plans involve small, everyday actions that are consistent, routine, and reliable. Others may think these plans small and insignificant. But when I consider grand plans in terms of what is most important to me, it isn’t hard to figure out what is foremost in my life. Sometimes, we get stuck believing that our goals are not adequate or worthy if they aren’t large and impressive. We may not feel we are enough or don’t measure up to others because our plans are not considered fabulous by society. If we stay true to ourselves and those we love, our plans may be quiet and steadfast but grand, nonetheless. We shouldn’t feel daunted because our plans don’t qualify as grand by the world’s standards. We can be content that our plans involving our families and communities are special, important, and truly grand.