Unexpected joy

By Rebekah Robinson


My sister got married two days after Christmas, and it was crazy. My family, as loving and well-meaning as we may be, is messy, loud, rambunctious and almost always late. It’s often comical. As one can imagine, I was preparing for disaster to strike at least once during the week leading up to the big day, but I was also hoping for the best possible time for my sister. I think one of my under-the-breath prayers was something like this:

“Please Lord, don’t let the cat eat her veil, and don’t let my dad’s attempts to dance end in a trip to the hospital, or please please please let just one picture of the whole family turn out halfway decent. Please please thank you Amen!”

Things never turn out exactly as we plan or even hope for them to be. My sister’s wedding day was one of those moments I have been anticipating for nearly my entire life, and yet the best parts were the moments I didn’t expect. I never expected so many sweet prayers from people I hardly knew, or visitors to travel miles and miles just to say hello, or the “unfortunate” rain to be so very perfect.

I’m not disregarding the importance of planning or having goals or expectations, but I’m slowly learning that my selfish expectations rob me of so much unexpected joy.

Even more so, my expectations and opinions of other people have kept me from friendships and opportunity for grace. And what a shame that is. People — true, individual, God-made souls — are never exactly as we imagine them to be. Shouldn’t we let people surprise us? Shouldn’t we expect them to mess up?

It isn’t a human or an event that determines our fates. I can’t even control what traffic is going to be like on my way to work (I mentioned earlier that tardiness runs in my family)!

Grace isn’t an excuse to fall short.

Grace is a gift we are each given daily, hourly, minute-by-minute. Something we should extend generously to everyone around us. Something we should hope for, pray for more of, always be aware of and never ever forget.


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