A Tree On The Line

I write this today from the train to Dublin where I’m travelling for a business meeting. In the past trips to Dublin normally meant one thing only – let’s see how much alcohol I can consume between getting there and my return. How times have changed. Nothing but Diet Coke will be passing my lips between now and my return later today. A sober Irishman in Dublin! Whatever next?!

When Fionnuala dropped me off at the local station this morning to get my connecting train to Belfast I had a brief moment of panic when I heard a garbled tannoy message announcing that there was a tree on the line and and trains to Belfast and Bangor had been cancelled. But I had to get to Belfast in order to get the Dublin Express. I could not miss this meeting. Two of the big bosses were going! I was even wearing a tie!!

Thankfully it was all much ado about nothing. I tracked down a passing conductor and established that I had misheard the announcement that there was indeed a tree on the line but it was affecting all trains between Belfast and Bangor. I breathed a sigh of relief and resolved to get my ears cleaned out at the next available opportunity. The tie was going to Dublin after all.

For those few moments of uncertainty, however, all sorts of scenarios raced through my mind. Was I going to have to sheepishly phone my boss and say I couldn’t make the meeting? Or call Fionnuala, who was by then in the middle of the school run, and ask her to somehow get me to another station further down the line before the Dublin Express passed through. I dallied and dithered. Prevarication reigned supreme.

The truth of the matter was that I didn’t have a Plan B. I just turned up at the station assuming that everything would run according to plan. I could sleepwalk through the journey and serenely arrive at my destination on schedule without a hair out of place. Cos that’s how I roll and that’s how life is. Nothing ever goes wrong and all our dreams and plans drift smoothly along without the slightest hiccup. Right?

Oh if only. Unfortunately life has a nasty habit of slapping you in the face with a proverbial wet fish whenever you least expect it. Life is cluttered with trees on the line so it makes sense to always have a Plan B up your sleeve. And a Plan C through to Z for that matter. That’s Zed for me and Zeeeeeeee for our North American readers. Which I can never really get my head around but hey ho.

I used to live with my head in the clouds. I drifted through life with little thought to future commitments and present responsibilities. Words like ‘consequences’ and ‘repercussions’ did not register on my radar. I was selfish and thoughtless. It was only when the wheels came off (or the tree crashed onto the line) that I realised I didn’t have a Plan B. My works came crashing down around me in no uncertain fashion.

Thankfully my loved ones rallied around and became my Plan B. When I was floundering they provided stability. They helped me find myself when I thought I had blown it all. My faith, family and witness saved me. I wobble in respect of all three from time to time but they are my safety net. And I need that for otherwise it is a long, long way down. Never assume. Always have a Plan B.

When was the last time a tree crashed down on your line?

What’s your Plan B? Or C or D for that matter?

How do you North Americans differentiate between C and Z? My mind is blown.

40 thoughts on “A Tree On The Line

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  1. “When was the last time a tree crashed down on your line?” At the enormous risk of sounding melodramatic: Is it strange that at the present moment, I feel as though the entire forest has eliminated the train as an option altogether, and I’m just trekking along by foot?

    Loved this post today – well written and thought-provoking as to where, and to whom we look for support when life goes off the rails.

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  2. Glad it worked out for you! I had no idea ya’ll call the letter “Z”, zed, over there. Learn something new every day. In Spanish they pronounce the z with an ‘s’ sound. Abrazo = ah bra so. In the US, those who don’t know that will say uh bra zo, z as in ZOO. This may make no sense to you, haha! Anyway, as for plan A, etc. I am not much at planning, so I rely a lot on God to work things out. However, today I discovered that our recently planned hike up a large rock next week will be affected by thunderstorms, so I started to panic and try to change the plans. I ran into some issues. I’m still not sure what will happen, but I trust God will help and it will work out. He is so good to me like that. We have many thunderstorms in Texas, but most days are sunny so we take that for granted sometimes. God bless your meeting and safe travels!

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  3. My tree was cancer. My plan A through Z and beyond us to trust God no matter what falls across the line, or how long it will be there, or how many lines it messes with. Our God will always come to the rescue

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  4. I try to stop at plan B, because I have a bad habit of going down that rabbit hole of what if this and what if that…What I treasured from your message today Stephen was how far you have come and the love and support of your family. You are truly blessed and you get it!!

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  5. The call of “Timber!” continues to echo through my head…trees crashing left and right. I figure if my own Plan A doesn’t work, I should be still and wait and trust the man upstairs to reveal Plan B.

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  6. A great post. I’ve just learned to accept compromises and accommodations will likely need to be made amd adjust accordingly. We can’t plan every contingency and would likely go a bit nuts if we tried.

    Oh… and in Canada, the “other” North American country… we say zed too. 🙂

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  7. My motto is always have a plan B, C, D, E, etc….for me it is to always carry an emergency credit card. If there is no place to withdraw funds, I cry, get upset then pray and trust God to see me through. God has never failed me yet. 🙂 Amazing, once I start trusting Him how things always work out, when I don’t trust Him, well, lets just say that is why I cry and get upset and nothing gets resolved.

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  8. I love this post. I love the title! And about C and Z… I’m in the U.S. I think there’s an unspoken rule that says to always assume it’s C, because C’s are more common. If it’s not C, the speaker will clarify: “That’s Z as in Zebra.” 🙂

    Thank you and keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hehe. Ceeee and Zeeee. Never had a problem with it. C is voiceless and Z is voiced. On the phone, mix ups between N and M or D and T are more common. About the tree in the path, a wise woman once told me that if there is a rock in the river, the water flows around it. The water doesn’t keep trying to push it although that rock may eventually give way from the constant pressure. Go with the flow. If God puts a rock in your path, you weren’t meant to go that way. Don’t worry. He has it all figured out.

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  10. As ephesisians413 mentioned I think mix-ups are more common with B and P and M and N, I haven’t had any issues with C and Z. But usually they can all be avoided by spelling over the loudspeaker or (phone) using the military alphabet. B as in Bravo, C as in Charley etc. Plan B…. I don’t usually make one, I just fly through life by the seat of my pants. If I need a plan B I just figure God will see me through.

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