A surprise can be a wonderful thing—or not so much. Sometimes an
unexpected event rocks my world in a good way, but other times a surprise flips me upside down, leaving my day looking very different than the image in my early morning mind.
During the last two months, most of my days have looked nothing like what I planned. An unexpected call came late afternoon on a Friday while I was off work and teaching at a writing event. A gracious apology for short notice accompanied instructions from my department director to book a flight over the weekend. We needed to be within a seven-day window—not so disturbing. I love flying and adore visiting Tennessee. A little inconvenient, but not a bad surprise. However, the project turned into something much larger than anticipated with short timeframes and deadlines. I’ll spare you the boring details, but needless to say, none of my days since then looked like what I planned.
If I may be so bold, I’ll confess—my attitude over the past few weeks surprised even me. Too much whining and grumbling, not the person I want to be at all—the downside of this surprise.
To make matters worse, last Monday I received an even less welcome surprise. An uneven spot in the parking lot waited, anticipating my rush to get inside for a meeting. I swear it grew as I approached, the most unobtrusive obstacle in the entire area, and I found it. My knee kissed the pavement; not in a gentle sweet way leaving a small reminder of the encounter. No. My knee had to plant a suck lips off the face kind of kiss, leaving the entire kneecap scraped and bleeding. Grateful I didn’t tear my dress, and more so that no one saw me fall, I gingerly made my way inside and bandaged up my giant boo-boo.
A week of having a hard time sleeping without anything touching a sore knee—not a good surprise at all.
Wounds heal eventually, but often leave quite unpleasant side effects in the process. This weekend, my dear friend Melinda confirmed a thought I’d had earlier in the week. “It looks like a heart.” I’m not sharing God’s sense of humor in giving me an excruciating wound even if it does resemble my favorite shape. Perhaps He reminded me, in spite of the pain, He loves me even when I trip and fall. Even when I grumble, complain, and let circumstances affect my attitude in a terrible way.
Then this week, I met Jim. What I thought was an interview for a magazine article turned into an amazing surprise. I left his home with my interview, and a heart filled with encouragement. Surprise! Today wasn’t what I planned. One of the gifts this gentle godly man bestowed on me included a reminder my job isn’t just about making money. God planted me there for a reason, and maybe I’m simply supposed to encourage others around me. I still don’t like long days with the ability to keep me from writing or other things I need or want to accomplish. Nevertheless, tomorrow, I’ll look at the day from a different viewpoint, as I work not for a corporation, but for my King.
As I change perspective and embrace surprise events, my day probably won’t look like I planned. It might just look better.