The Bright Side: Change of plans

Published 12:14 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

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Weekend before last, Eric and I had planned to take a trip to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. Because we are members of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, we have the opportunity to visit the zoo for free during the month of October due to a partnership between the zoo and the Y.

I was so excited to go on Saturday. I haven’t visited a zoo in a few years and I absolutely LOVE learning about and getting an up-close look at all kinds of different animals. We had scheduled our dog sitter a few weeks out and had been planning this day trip for some time. However, the weather had other plans for us. From the moment we had left the Outer Banks to head to VA, there was a constant downpour. About 15 minutes out from the zoo, we checked the forecast and decided it was time to change course. And boy, did it turn out to be a great day despite the uncooperative weather.

We started by visiting the MacArthur Center to shop around for a while before heading out and stopping by a historic home. The rain left a glistening effect on the dusty red brick sidewalk as we walked towards downtown, and the leaves were swirling around with the gusts of wind that found us as we neared the river. I prefer sunny days, but we weren’t letting the rain stand in our way of having a great time. The Waterside District was up next, where we grabbed some lunch and conversed with the bartenders. The two ladies tending to us were having a ball and had us laughing nonstop. They were cheerful and happy to be there and so were we. Before leaving the city, we checked out the Chrysler Museum of Art. Employees were setting up for what we thought to be a wedding, but allowed us to walk through nonetheless. It wasn’t the zoo, but it was a great adventure.

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As we crossed the Wright Memorial Bridge to come home, I was thinking how God really does have a sense of humor. “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.” I thought about how many times I’ve told God how it’s going to be, what my day will entail. I know He must find it amusing, because He knows things most likely will not go how I think they will. But boy, am I glad they don’t. We wouldn’t have gotten the chance to explore the city of Norfolk if we had stuck with our original plans. We wouldn’t have laughed with bartenders, or learned more about the history a place that has changed so much, or appreciated the rain for making us change course. And as I was thinking about all of this, the biggest and brightest rainbow I have ever seen stretched across the bridge, spanning from north to south. Eric and I looked at one another and smiled. Everything happens for a reason, right?

Sometimes I like to tell God my plans. I’ll tell him about the house I have in mind to move to, the trips I plan to take, the events I plan to run, and all the things I’d like to fill my life with. I feel Him smile, and I know He appreciates my enthusiasm and earnestness. “In time” is the response I get most often. I can live with that.

My mom has always told me, “one day a time.” I got tired of hearing her say it after a while, but I now know why she was so adamant about us living in the moment. We only have so many of them, and even if plans change, that doesn’t mean our day has to go to waste. Let us tie our shoelaces before we start to run, as my best friend reminded me today, and take it one step at a time, one moment at a time, one zoo trip at a time. Who knows, you might just end up at a museum instead, and maybe it’ll turn out even better than what you had originally anticipated.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at