Do you know what really messes up a to do list? The unexpected. The unexpected just pops up. It’s never invited. It’s presence can really take your day in a different direction, positive or negative. There’s no way to plan for the unexpected or even to anticipate it. We often get so comfortable in our own little corners of the universe that we just expect that things will go precisely the way we think they ought to. But since we can’t predict the unexpected, it would do our hearts a world of good if we learned to be more flexible and were able to roll along with the surprising events that pop up in our days.

What if instead of looking at the unexpected as something that is getting in the way we look at it as soul food. This is going to be a stretch for some but bear with me for a bit. This week I was feeling a little emotional, like hallmark commercial cry emotional. I could give thanks to those 40 year old hormones, but I’m going to be real clear, I’m a sensitive person, so there you go. I was on a particular roller coaster of emotions Wednesday. One of my boys was allowed back into the world after a 5 day covid quarantine and while I cleaned and disinfected the house my song choices just had me bawling my eyes out. I had three dog sitting jobs that morning and one in the afternoon and it was rainy and gray, and I was wet and cold and all the things. While en route to my 4th dog job I was listening to K-Love, (if you haven’t heard of K-Love, it is a Christian radio station) and they were doing a segment called Somewhere Out There. While they were reading a beautiful story about a mom and her son who just went to college (make me cry), the instrumental of Somewhere Out There from An American Tale was playing (which makes me cry) and they led into a song that connects them no matter how far apart they are, Hills and Valley’s by Tauren Wells (which made me cry even more). So basically, I’m a blubbering mess in the car, and then I gasp as a car accident almost happens several cars in front of me. I sat there for only a second, shaking my head, when suddenly I was jolted forward, and the sound of metal crunching filled my ears as I held tight to the steering wheel. When the two cars ahead of me stopped suddenly, I had to stop suddenly, but the car behind me didn’t stop in time. I sat in shock for a moment after the second impact, my seatbelt locked tightly around me. I glanced in my rearview mirror and motioned to the driver behind me that I was going to turn and pull over. After apologies, phone calls, assessing the damage, exchanging information, and taking pictures, we parted ways and I proceeded to my next dog job, crying(again). But the tears this time were a little different. What started out as tears of shock and discomfort, later gave way to tears of thankfulness. Thankful that nobody was seriously hurt. Thankful that although uncomfortable, I was ok. Thankful that nobody was in the car with me. Thankful that my car is still drivable. Thankful. Just thankful.

This accident was unexpected. It wasn’t invited. It wasn’t planned. It certainly wasn’t welcome. It messed up my to do list, messed up my car, and if I let it, it could have messed up my day. This accident wasn’t exactly soul food, it certainly wasn’t an answer to any of my prayers, but if I’m being honest, I can look at this accident and see God’s grace and mercy and his protection over me and the driver and passenger in the other vehicle. I can thank God for helping me to remember, even thru this accident, that the unexpected happens every day and that I never walk through it alone and even in the midst of discomfort and life in general, we can choose positive over negative. I can’t think of much that really and truly matters in this world. Stuff is just stuff. It is the people in our lives, the ones we know and the ones we don’t that we can affect and that can affect us. I want my God to use me every day even if I am uncomfortable or inconvenienced. I want a heart that is flexible, loving, patient, and kind. It’s funny because sometimes I allow the little things to be big things and I act like those little things are so important. But then a big thing happens and sets things in perspective. I don’t want to take those moments or my people for granted.

I hope that when the unexpected pops up, we can roll with it. I hope that we can have perspective for what is really important. I hope that we don’t allow little things to be big things. I hope we can shift our focus to a more positive outlook. Is there anything going on in your life that has surprised you lately? How are you handling it? I would love to hear about it and I would love to pray for you.

Even on a day when the sky looks like cool whip, there are always things to be thankful for.