Good Is The Enemy of Great


Over my break, one of my tasks was to figure out how to get our dog Elway from Texas to Florida so he could complete his training as an emotional support animal.  

First, I tried to fly with him, but he was too large to fit in the largest possible dog carrier that would fit under the airplane seat in front of me.  But I did my best to get him into the carrier anyway, and eventually stuffed him into it like a sausage.  

Apparently, this is frowned upon by most people, and particularly the people who were at the ticket counter for Southwest Airlines.  They informed me that I would not be able to travel with Elway jammed into the carrier since "he can't turn around."  

I told them that Elway was fine, and didn't really need to turn around, but knew that it was a lost cause when one of them looked at him pitifully and said, "Poor little fellow."   

It was then that I leaned down to Elway who peered out at me with a sorrowful gaze, and said to him, "Looks like we're going on a road trip, buddy."  And so we set out for Florida in my trusty Jeep Wrangler.  I did all the driving, and Elway provided moral support and kept the car seats free from chip crumbs. 

A two-day road trip wasn't what I expected to do during my time off from work, but as it turned out, it was exactly what I needed.  I listened to music, let my mind wander, stopped often, and slowly began to clear my head. 

I got to thinking about all of the times in my life when my plans were thwarted, and what I thought was going to happen, didn't... But what did happen turned out to be better than what I had planned in the first place.

I like to believe those kinds of moments are personalized instances of divine intervention, where my best-laid plans are revealed to be second-rate imitations of God's purposes for me.  Even when my plans were good ones, I have often been humbled to discover God's alternates to mine were greater.  

Good is often the enemy of great, as Jim Collins so aptly put it.  

Anyway, I had this moment on the aforementioned trip when I was driving through Baton Rouge, LA, and found myself stuck in traffic on a bridge high above the water.  I was blasting a song by Sam Smith, a cover of "Fix You," by Coldplay that has these lyrics: 

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something, you can't replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you... 

Not a lot of people know this, but I can sing like Sam Smith when I'm alone in my car.  It's true.  So at that moment, I was singing as loud as I could and may have been holding an imaginary microphone, too.  

And then I looked over at the car next to me and saw a guy behind the wheel staring at me and grinning ear to ear.  

Can I tell you I did not miss a single note?  I just kept right on singing because the music was too good, and I was feeling as clear as I've felt in a very long time.  I sang that song as if it was God's prayer being sung over me.  A prayer and a moment that was greater than any plan I could have imagined. 

I gave a wave to the guy in the car, and the traffic started to move.  "That wasn't good," I thought.  "That was great... Thanks be to God, that was really great."  

May you have your good plans thwarted and turned into God's great purposes.  May you discover even more than you planned for, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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