(Good) surprises

When I was little, a “surprise” always meant something good. A knock on the door, a phone call, a letter in the mail, a special announcement; these all boded well. Or so I thought. When someone said “I have a surprise for you” the assumption was it was going to be fun/exciting/pleasing. Basically I’d like it. I heard that word and I got excited. A surprise! Oh boy! What could it be?!

Somewhere along the way my thoughts on “surprises” changed. I’m more inclined to think a surprise will not be a happy one. Funny how a word can do an about-face like that. Too many of the surprises in my adult life have felt like blows and if not blows, shoves. Surprise!

I don’t like that my feelings have changed so dramatically on this subject since childhood. I have to remember I can still be surprised in a positive way. I have to be open to that. Because I suspect once you guard yourself against bad surprises, the unintended effect will be to block ALL surprises and not even see the good ones for what they are when and if they do show up.

About a month or so ago, I had two nice surprises in one week. Two separate people, neither of whom I know well or would even expect to greet (or vice versa) on the street, did me a good turn. They each did it through the internet, that is, the good news came to me online. One contacted me directly and the other was indirectly relayed to me. Each was thoughtful and kind and revealed more about the two unrelated individuals than I had previously surmised. I didn’t think either person really knew who I was exactly, let alone thought well of me or wanted to do something nice for me. I indeed got a surprise.

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