When I wrote about my Main Man's question asking me to look for the unexpected in my everyday life, a number of you followed up with me to ask, "So, what happened? What unexpected things did you see?"
To be truthful, I can't say that anything amazingly unexpected occurred. If only it were that easy. Things went along as they typically do with a fair amount of frustration and stress. It wasn't that the days were unusual. The difference was more in me. I started looking for the little joys and celebrations, the kind of things that brighten and enhance our days if only we notice and acknowledge them. Here are just a few of the things I've observed in the last few days:
Autumn colors are brightest on the grayest of days. On bright sunny days, the changing colors of our landscape appear dull in the brilliant sunlight, but on dark, cloudy, rainy days even the dullest of leaves is a standout. We've been blessed with a few of those lately to illustrate my point.
Comfortable shoes are a real treat after five hours in pinchy heels. Some occasions require heels for women. I do the best I can, but after a couple of hours my feet have had it. That's when I rediscover the joy of truly comfy shoes. What a gift that is. Millions of people in our world don't own even one pair of shoes.
Positive reports about my children. Of course I'm proud of them. I'm their mother. But when someone else tells me how talented or wonderful or generous they are, my joy overflows. This actually happened for me with regard to each of my children in the last ten days. That was unexpectedly special.
Pansies and ornamental cabbage. Some men bring their wives flowers regularly. My Main Man is not one of those people. He thinks cut flowers are a waste of money. This doesn't mean he wants me to do without. This fall he built a new flower bed I can see from our kitchen window--the one over the sink, and filled it with pansies and ornamental cabbage. Every time I look down I can see a reminder of his love for me.
If you're a fan of the Prairie Home Companion,you know Garrison Keillor begins weekly his monologue by saying "Its been a good week in Lake Wobegon," but sometimes in real life it hasn't been a particularly good week. Truth be told, many of us experience considerable tension, frustration and disappointment. Life can be hard. That may be when it's especially important to look around an notice the bright spots shining like autumn colors on a cloudy day . . . the warmth of a friend, the helpfulness of a co-worker, the comfort of a family member, the beauty of the season. Even on the darkest days, there is surely some unexpected beauty or gift for which we can be grateful.
On the lookout for the unexpected,
Dr. Jennifer Baker