Allan Morton: “Man Plans; God Laughs”

I retired from the practice of family law on June 30, 2019. After more than 50 years of litigation practice and having turned 75 on February 2, 2019, it was time for a change. I set up a family law mediation practice, a field in which I have been involved in for 25 years. I intended to do mediations part time. My wife Peet and I expected to use what we anticipated would be ample leisure to pursue varied interests and to travel to a long list of places, in the U.S. and abroad.

Additionally, there were many subjects I wanted to study, such as field botany and geology. There were numerous courses and lectures on Jewish topics that fascinated me. I have a pile of Jewish books I figured I would finally get to read. I decided to even tackle Hebrew.

Peet and I signed up for a Melton Institute trip to Spain focused on its Jewish history. I dreamed of a long road trip to explore our national parks, especially in southern Utah. Last Fall I read a book called “American Wolf” about the Yellowstone wolf packs. Shortly after that I won a live auction item for wildlife watching in Yellowstone, so we set up a visit to see Yellowstone and Grand Teton in September 2020.

Well, as we all know, our plans, routines and assumptions have been overthrown by a microscopic virus. We are fortunate that we do not ordinarily walk around conscious of how fragile life is or how easily civilization is disrupted. In normal times, sudden tragedy can happen to anyone anytime and a natural disaster can strike any point on the planet. The difference with the pandemic is that it is everywhere, and it seems it could bring down everything. The tools of public health and the medical profession seem primitive against this mere bug. When it will be over and when there will be an effective vaccine is unknown.

Every event in our lives can teach us something. Coved 19 has plenty to teach.
First, life is fragile, and time is short. Use it; you’ll never get it back.
Second, practice kindness and empathy. My wife and I are healthy and want for nothing. Millions are now suffering, and millions will die a very gruesome death.
Third, appreciate your spouse, family and community. These are the bulwarks of our lives.
Fourth, make more plans. These plans may need to be altered, but this time of the plague will pass, as do all of life’s tragedies and joys.
Fifth, every moment is a holy gift. Be thankful and use it to good purpose. Love and enjoy your life.
Finally, seek the Holy. God is everywhere hidden in plain view. Open your awareness. As Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotz said, God is found where you let Him in.