I just Googled, “We make plans, God laughs,” because it’s one of my friend Sheila’s most beloved sayings and I was curious about its origin. The other night we were discussing expressions that keep our hope and faith alive during torrential storms, and I shared one of my favorites, “Maximum effort, minimum attachment,” which, like Sheila’s, is really about letting go.

Turns out “We plan, God laughs” is a Yiddish proverb, “Mann traoch, Gott lŠuch,” and there’s a book by the same name, We Plan, God Laughs: Ten Steps To Finding Your Divine Path When Life Is Not Turning Out Like You Wanted, by Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, due out in paperback this spring. Good timing, as many find themselves hard pressed to shell out $18.95 for a hardback when they’re deferring dreams of retirement or trying to find a way to keep the lights on or even a roof above their head.

But even in these stormy times, when we fear possible landmines and find ourselves looking down to avoid them instead of ahead to a clearing, we must look up as well, and walk in faith, not fear. God helps those who help themselves, and now is the time to summon as much faith, hope, and resolve as possible to move forward.

Yesterday I decided not to defer my dream of a beautiful garden any longer, and even though it was pouring outside, I donned my hooded raincoat and ventured out to work in the mud and the rain. Pulling out weeds, picking up dead leaves, making rooms for the seeds and the plants that will go into the ground soon, I pictured the tomatoes reddening, the strawberries ripening, the lemon cucumbers growing big as tennis balls.

Hope is gardening in the rain. Refusing to let the storm paralyze, and realizing that even when the future is uncertain, we can handle whatever comes our way. Oncologist Jerome Groopman, author of The Anatomy of Hope, defines hope as seeing a path to a brighter future, acknowledging the pitfalls along that path, but still believing that things will improve. I love that definition. But there’s another I love as well.

I read it yesterday after receiving a notification that Mary Beth Sammons had posted on her CarePages blog, “We Carry Each Other”. Coincidentally (or not) I had been ruminating about hope all weekend, and her blog was titled, “What is hope?" She shared a beautiful story about hope, concluding, “In part hope exists because there are people who care.”

Also in the serendipity department: Mary Beth is Sheila’s sister. Literally. And though they live more than a thousand miles apart, they remain close in spirit, and to me are two of the most helpful, healing, and positive people on the planet.

When I emailed Sheila and said I was going to garden in the rain, she wrote back, “Gardening in the rain might be fun!!! :-) “

Indeed it was.

With love and always hope,
Author of Help Me Live: 20 things people with cancer want you to know.

This post originally appeared on Lori's CarePages.com blog, "Hope for Cancer: what helps. what hurts. what heals".

Author's Bio: 

Intent.com is a premier wellness site and supportive social network where like-minded individuals can connect and support each others' intentions. Founded by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika Chopra, Intent.com aims to be the most trusted and comprehensive wellness destination featuring a supportive community of members, blogs from top wellness experts and curated online content relating to Personal, Social, Global and Spiritual wellness.