Living with the Element of Surprise
I recently had the opportunity to meet some new people all very different and fun at a family gathering. The event was to be a surprise boat ride for my cousin’s wife. He had spent time planning, scheduling and completing all the behind the scenes work it takes to pull off a surprise party. There were minor and major details to be worked out. Information to be shared and a host of other to do list items to be check off. Several months prior to the event we received a comical email that provided all the information one must know in order to prepare for such an event. Before the special day occurred every person had continued doing different things and experiencing different happenings in their own lives both favorable and unfavorable.
Finally the day had arrived. Some of us had come from the same city but different parts within the city. Some traveled from different places all together. There were different distances, vehicles and relations to the people involved. Nonetheless we all gathered to celebrate a special day with someone everyone cared for.
When she arrived at the boat ride she was completely surprised. She had gathered with the expectation of celebrating a major life event for someone else. She had no idea that the entire party was for her. Later that evening other festivities where still to be unfolded. When we left from the boat ride and seeing her happiness I could not help but think “She has no idea what other things were in store for her that evening.” There was another secret surprise to be revealed later that day. Everyone gathered to celebrate, laugh, talk and eat. Discussion of different topics, sharing of good conversations and smiles filled the entire occasion. When the day ended well wishes, kind words, heartfelt hugs and goodbyes were said. On the way back home I began thinking about several things.
Sometimes in life we make plans, have ideas and expectations for what we envision our life to be. The key is in understanding that sometimes those expectations are shifted. Just as we had all come from different places leading to the same destination, life itself does that same thing. We may be on different paths in life that leads us to the same place but we arrive there differently. Some of us arrive there quicker, while others of us take a little bit longer. It can be helpful to not compare ourselves or our journey in life to another at different times. It is of great value to recognize that our experiences may be different than one another yet those personal things provide us with an opportunity for growth in many ways. For many reasons life may send us in a different direction, not necessarily worse but different than what we expected. It is important to have high but realistic expectations as we travel through life. In our angst to expect and plan we must also remember that any surprise is almost impossible to prepare for.
This unexpected journey also illuminates the element of surprise that life brings. Just as she was surprised by the events that happen in the day we may also be surprised by the many things that happen in our life. Just when we think things are done life sends us a new surprise. Of course I would be remised if I did not mention the unwanted surprises. The unfortunate things that may take a different manner of adjustment. Even in those difficulties we are learning, changing and growing. Sometimes in life there are wonderful surprises that come our way. These are the things that make life exciting and wonderful. If we remain open we gain the opportunity to learn, change and grow from all the experiences that come our way. It is helpful to remain hopeful no matter the circumstances.
Personal reflection question:
What can you do differently to embrace the element of surprise in your life?
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