I Did Not Plan–November 3, 2011


I did not plan to be born. Apparently my mother and father found one another particularly attractive one evening and enjoyed each other’s company and in the process, planted and ultimately hatched the notion of my existence. Some people would choose to be more philosophical about their births. I have found that such musings tend to end up in the mystical realm or in vanity.

I didn’t plan to be fat. I was certainly genetically pre-disposed in that direction and it didn’t help that my mother allowed me to eat too much food instead of putting me in the back yard, exercising. Of course, after a while I didn’t require her insufficiency on the matter–I took the “glutton” of the responsibility on myself.

I didn’t plan to play music. My mother had me take piano lessons from my first grade teacher and she was so attractive that I got all warm and tingly every time she told me to practice my hammer action. I quit playing for a while and then started up again when I realized that it was something I could do and still be … well, still be me.

I did not plan to quit football. I liked it. I was pretty good at it. But I hated the exercise and the wind sprints and found that I only enjoyed the game, which unfortunately only happened once a week, while practice happened on six occasions. The proportions baffled me and left me aghast, so I chose to depart the locker room. Or did I?

I did not plan to get married. I had what you might call a high school affair, where I was experimenting with a young woman’s virtues and she with mine. Unfortunately, when you place something in a petri dish, it will occasionally sprout growth. So two lab partners ended up being husband and wife and have continued to do so for forty-one years. But I did not plan it.

I certainly did not plan to have children. Biologically, I had four of them and none of them were planned. I mean, they were planned in that I understood the techniques of what happened prior to their conception, but neither the lady or myself were ever adept at birth control, so children would just suddenly appear and wonder where they should put down their knapsacks.

I did not plan to start my first musical group, Soul Purpose. It was just four friends who wanted to do something together and have an answer to the question, “So what are you going to do with your life?” I never imagined it would blossom into anything it became or that in the process I would acquire the craft necessary to become a decent song writer. I didn’t plan that.

I didn’t plan to talk to Dottie Rambo that night in Columbus, Ohio.  Matter of fact, when my friend, Luann, suggested we walk up and speak to her about one of the songs we had written, I was scared out of my trousers. But because I did it anyway, lots of other things I didn’t plan and opportunities I didn’t put together came my way, which created quite a stack of blessings for me in the 1970’s.

I didn’t plan to ever write a symphony. But when Janet Clazzy came into my life and was willing to work with me, she was an oboist and required music to perform if she was going to be my partner. So I ended up taking my little dab of talent and spreading it across the spectrum of classical music, like peanut butter on hot toast. The result was eleven symphonies. But I didn’t plan it.

I didn’t plan to pen my first screenplay. My oldest son suggested I do it because he likes to make movies and I saw no particular reason to be stubborn. To date I have written seventeen of them and have thirteen movies to show for it. But you do understand … I didn’t plan it.

And honestly, I did not plan to go to Grace United Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, last night. A couple of months ago, I didn’t know there was a Grace United Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, and I am sure they were equally oblivious to my existence. Matter of fact, if I had planned my life, I’m not so sure we ever would have met–but I would have missed out on the blessing of meeting some of the sweetest folks ever to grace the great state of South Carolina. Maybe that’s why they call it Grace United Methodist.

As I look back at it, my friends, I realize that most of the things I’ve done in my life I haven’t really planned. Matter of fact, most of them have been contrary to conventional wisdom. We all should have gotten an inkling of that and maybe even a depth of understanding about how life really works by the way it ends up. Because none of us plan our deaths, do we? Not unless it’s a suicide, and that’s generally frowned on by the populace, both earthly and heavenly.

Yes, we should have caught on early that since there is an appointment for our deaths that is not revealed to us, why would we think that all the valleys and mountain tops would be charted out clearly by God–like some sort of Rand McNally map? Matter of fact, as I look back on the whole procedure I realize that I did not plan much of anything–except for one very important personal choice.

I did plan to be born again. And that particular selection has made all the unplanned activities fall into some sort of reasonable sense.


Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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