Each week the Reckon Women newsletter includes a column from women in the South, in collaboration with See Jane Write. Click here to join the Reckon Women Facebook group.

By Kathryn Lang

Every time I got it all together, someone seemed to move the middle, and I was left starting over.

For so many of us, 2020 epitomized the idea that if something can go wrong, it probably will.

It started out an amazing year for me. My plan hung up on the wall with daily little bits mapped to get me through. I would launch a live version of my podcast, bring my 2-acre show garden back to life, and pitch speaking engagements one to two times a month. Getting it all done would require focus and persistence, so meticulous planning went into every moment.

March derailed the plan. Suddenly, instead of silence and space, I had a house full of people interrupting my perfectly plotted plan. My son needed space to do online school. My husband needed space to teach online school. My dad had been visiting when the “Stay at Home” order came down, so his going and doing was confined to us. My original plan had called for more quiet and alone time – way more!

Homeschooling three boys for seventeen years taught me many tricks – adaptation being one of the most vital. I determined March might not look the way I wanted, but I would find a way to make it work.

About the time I found my way, a tornado landed in our yard and crushed the house. Most of the intensity seemed aimed directly at my office and my newly adjusted plan. We were all safe and unharmed, but the new plan lay in ruins under a mess that I couldn’t fix with all the determination and flexibility I could muster.

Dealing with things beyond our control can unravel the soundest focus.

Seven weeks living in a hotel room gave me time to find creative ways to do online school, speak online, and connect with friends. Everyone in my family did their part, and we all made it work.

We moved into a rental house while continuing negotiations with the insurance company. Each day we went out to the ruins of the house to pack up what could be salvaged, which reminded me things were not the way they were supposed to be.

The rental house provided some comfort – a bit of normality in a sea of nothing normal. I set out to get the plan back on track. A few false starts, and then I found a home for my makeshift office. It would work.

Meanwhile, the insurance side of things was not working. When we were assigned our seventh claims manager, I laughed. “It can’t get any worse,” I said. Eventually, things would have to work out. Right?

Words have power, and there may not be any words more powerful than “couldn’t get any worse.” I should’ve known better.

The rental owner sold to a new owner, and the new owner planned to move into the house and not rent it anymore.

Once again, we were facing uncertainty, all rotating around the insurance, the tornado damage, and the pandemic.

“If only we could get the insurance settled,” I lamented to my friend. “I would be able to find my peace.”

As the words went out, the truth of what I had said hit me. None of it is ever settled.

I can do what I can do, but all the outside forces – the circumstance, the people, the issues, even the weather –  those things are always out of my control and in a constant state of unsettled.

The outside forces will never provide my peace. The outside forces can never be the source of my hope. If I want settled, I have to choose settled. It starts in my heart.

I have to accept where I am and choose to be content in the moment. I don’t have to like the moment or the circumstances, but I have to be content as I aim higher and reach further. Where I am is where I am.

I have to make the most of the moment. Now is all I have. With the blink of an eye, now will be gone. I must choose to do what I can – now – because now is the time.

I have to find the silver lining. A silver lining comes even in the darkest storms. If I choose to look until I find the silver lining, I will always find the silver lining. Hope grows up in the silver lining moments.

Things may be unsettled, but when I choose to shift my focus, I find a way to become settled even through the chaos.

Kathryn Lang is an award-winning author and natural-born “hopesmith,” who shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a twist of snark and smile – over at www.SnarkyRainbows.com.