When life plans suddenly go haywire

When life plans suddenly go haywire

Figure of the Virgin Mary © dpa

First things come differently, and secondly than one thinks. The experience that life plans can unexpectedly burst, made people always. So also the Virgin Mary, who can be a role model for people even today.

On this Saturday, the Church celebrates the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, or the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The archangel Gabriel enters Mary – a young, unmarried woman – and announces to her that she is to have a child. An almost unheard-of announcement, which extremely upsets the life of the young woman. The plans she had until then – known is the intention to marry Joseph – are suddenly no longer certain. Will Joseph still marry her when she is inexplicably pregnant? Will he believe her that there is no other man involved? What will her family say?

Life changed in one fell swoop

Mary is confronted with a kind of news that changes life in one fell swoop. In Maria's case it was the unexpected pregnancy; other people get a cancer diagnosis, the unexpected dismissal at work or learn of the sudden death of a loved one.

After that nothing is like before. The question is how one can now continue on one's way. The Virgin Mary, in spite of all the uncertainty, said yes to having the child. In her case, God waited for her consent.

Here, perhaps, is the great difference with the situations in which one experiences life-changing news. For often one is faced with a fait accompli and no longer has a choice. The illness has already broken out, the loved one has already died. One is no longer asked and cannot express one's opinion about it.

But there is still a possibility, like Mary, to accept a new situation. This is certainly often not easy and requires a certain amount of work and effort. However, if you manage to say: "It's like this now" and accept the situation, you have already won a lot. He can see more clearly how to deal with this new situation, what room for maneuver he has and what other paths there are – even if at first glance everything seems hopeless.

Take time

It may take some time to get to that point. Maria also obviously needed time to digest the news. For in the Gospel of Luke we read that after a few days she went on her way. She doesn't go immediately, she doesn't fall into actionism, but she takes the time to accept the new reality of life and to let it come to her.

This can also be helpful today: to take the time to grieve, to consciously say goodbye to one's life plans. To consider calmly what it means to be without work. How long this phase lasts in each case cannot be determined in advance. But in any case, it is good to take care of yourself and see what does you good.

After a few days of reflection, Maria sets out to visit her cousin Elisabeth. On the one hand, Elizabeth was her ally, because she too had received more or less disturbing news: she had become pregnant at an advanced age, when no one expected it anymore. So this woman would be able to understand how Mary feels. And at the same time it is a kindred spirit. She belongs to Mary's environment, they know each other.

Sharing experiences

It is good to share your experiences with people who have gone through similar things. Who can understand how one feels when one experiences such a shock. At the same time, it is good at all to seek out someone and tell them what has happened to you. It's not for nothing that the saying "A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved" is popularly known."To know that someone shares the burden can give strength, and another can discover new ways and perspectives that do not occur to oneself. Mary draws strength and courage from the encounter with her cousin. After three months, she returns home and begins her life as the one who is to give birth to the Son of God.

This is how the young Maria was finally able to navigate and accept the new situation. Similarly, each of us today can also succeed in accepting difficult and stressful situations and shaping them.

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