I don’t really like surprises.
When we were little, sister #3 used to surprised me. It would begin at bedtime, with sister #3 running up the stairs to hide in the hallway between our bedrooms. I would whine, yell, and cry because I knew what was coming. As soon as I walked up the stairs and turned the corner, she would surprise me. With a boo, a growl, or a grabbing of the foot…always resulting in me screaming at the top of my lungs. Sister #3 would double over, laughing hysterically while I ran down the stairs to tattle.

I don’t really like surprises. That is, until yesterday.
I received a package in the mail yesterday. It was white and smallish, with messy boy handwriting addressed to me. There was no return address. Curiosity got the best of me, and I ripped open the package. There, in white tissue paper sat a movie. But not just any movie: my beloved movie, Up…the one I have been looking for since October. What a surprise! After months of complaining to and blaming my roommates, I now have my movie. Whether or not it’s the original matters not to me…I have watched it almost two times already. And it’s better than I remembered. So thank you mystery person for mailing me Up.

Surprises can be awful, but they can also be really good. The suspense of a thriller movie that pushes you to the edge of the seat with your fingers ready to cover your eyes at a moment’s notice is exhilarating. The anticipation as the five year old tries out the bike without training wheels for the first time is delightful. The marriage proposal that the girl isn’t expecting is beautiful.

Life is freckled with surprises. And although they often make me cringe because I realize my lack of control, they make me celebrate because I realize I’m not in control. It’s freeing to know that things aren’t always going to go the way I plan. The only thing I can do is expect surprises along the way.

One of my favorite quotes comes from my favorite movie, Dan in Real Life…
“I want to talk to you about the subject of plans… life plans and how we all make them, and how we hope that our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of our plans don’t work out as we’d hoped. So instead of asking our young people, ‘What are your plans? What do you plan to do with your life?’, maybe we should tell them this: Plan… to be surprised.”

So may you take a deep breath today and accept the fact that things may not go the way you’d like them to go. May you rejoice in life’s little surprises. And may you write in your planner  ‘plan…to be surprised’.

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