Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Are we called to be SURPRISES?

Surprises are endless so always be ready for your day to be interrupted with a surprise.  When you open the door there is no telling what might greet you.  It may be a piece of beauty that takes your breath away.  It could, however, be a surprise of another kind.  It could be the surprise of someone who needs help, or someone bearing a message of sorrow.   This might require your presence, thus you could have the good fortune (that might not feel like good fortunate at the moment)  of being a surprise for the the person at your door.

It could be the surprise of an unexpected car accident as I somehow celebrated this week.  Having my  foot elevated and surrounded by ice-packs was not on my agenda but finding myself still alive was an awesome surprise.

One of the best pieces of advice I have for us is a quote that I am trying to piece together from a Brazilian Archbishop whom some of you may remember from days gone by.

"Accept surprises that upset your plans, shatter your dreams,  and give a completely different twist to your day, and ~~who knows?~~ to your life.  It is not chance.  Leave God free to weave the pattern of your days." -Dom Helder Camara

These words certainly echo an amazing piece of advice from our beloved Heni Nouwen,

 "Turn your interruptions into opportunities."

Maybe Jesus didn't just call us to be  DISCIPLES.  Perhaps he also calls us to be SURPRISES.

Can you allow yourself to find a surprise 
behind every door?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Are you open to surprise?

Your word for April is  SURPRISE
Go on and pull open the curtain. I know you've seen hundreds of sunrises (or sunsets) but you never know what the next one will be like.  It is always a surprise for the one who wears an open heart and can let go of the assumption that you know what is behind the curtain.  I once called out to someone with a fair amount of excitement in my voice saying,  "Quick, come look at the rising moon!" She answered, "I saw it last night."  So did she really see it last night?   I doubt it.  She saw something in the sky, perhaps, but I doubt that it took hold of her in a healthy, healing kind of way if she wasn't willing to look again, to behold it anew.

The word, SURPRISE, has many meanings and my favorite meaning is, "TAKEN FROM ABOVE."  You are so  filled with amazement and delight that something above you, outside of you, beyond your power, takes hold of you.  Something outside of yourself grasps you and invites you to be a seer. You are taken from above and given a new vision of one particular slice of life.  A presence that you can't explain pulls back the curtain and some kind of revelation takes place.

By choice, and practice, we can live as though we are standing before what the Christian Celts call the thin places--those places that are so sacred, could you but draw the veil aside you would see the face of God. Perhaps every surprise is like that.  Although it may happen quite naturally yet unexpectedly, you are invited with each surprise to be a seer.

It is not easy to be a seer.  You have to surrender the lie that you don't have time.  'Looking' is not the same as 'seeing'.  One early morning a few years ago I almost walked past a surprise.  It was a moon flower just opening its face to the dawn.  I looked at it and almost passed by.  But suddenly I was taken from above.  I paused and took it in.  I became its tenant (though it paid no rent).  I beheld it and offered it hospitality.

How easy it is to pass by a surprise because we think we've already seen it!

Most of all we ought to be careful lest we miss the surprise of one another.  Every person is a jewel, a beauty never to be repeated.  We think we know the person we are having coffee with but do we really?  How do we open ourselves to the surprise of another person?  April is almost over and I'm sure you had many surprises.  Why not sit down and ponder a few of your surprises!  Or, maybe even just the surprises of this day.