I vividly remember the party for my 40th birthday. That was over 20 years ago but that night is very clear in my mind. My husband Glenn and I went out for a lovely dinner; and returned home to a house full of people. Glenn had arranged a surprise party; I had no idea people were coming over. Our house was filled with friends eager to share in my special milestone. The best surprise of all – my brother and sister in law had driven from Boston where they lived to Baltimore where we lived to be present at my surprise party. What a gift! And it was so totally unexpected.
I called a friend the other day that I hadn’t talked to in awhile. Her first words to me were “What a surprise. How nice to hear from you.” I created a nice surprise in her life, and we reconnected and told stories of each other’s lives. At my surprise birthday party, I was the receiver of the surprise. When I called my friend, I was the giver of the surprise. Our lives are made up of both of these things over time, receiving a surprise and giving a surprise. These surprises create memories that can stay with us over time.
Our lives are being shaped by our different experiences during this pandemic, and we’ve all been surprised in new and unexpected ways. Our encounters with people may stand out because we are connecting with one another virtually instead of in person. What has surprised you during a recent encounter? What new events or people are you paying attention to? Who have you surprised in the last few weeks or months? Who or what has surprised you in the last few weeks or months? It is helpful to think of encounters where we were the giver, and also times when we were the receiver. This giving and receiving moves us forward to a new awareness of how God may be at work.
(John 14: 19)
Risen Lord, continue to surprise us as we walk with you. Lead us to opportunities to give a surprise to someone else. Help us also receive surprises as we grow in our awareness of you. Open our hearts and minds and spirits to the many surprises all around us, so we can live into resurrection hope. AMEN.