I believe that every day contains a surprise. An “oh-my-gosh” moment that can make that day the best day of our lives of the worst day of our lives. Sure, some surprises, like a warm cup of hot cocoa waiting for us at the end of a cold day or seeing wildflowers in full bloom on the side of the highway, may eventually fade into our jumbled abyssal memories, but I believe that it is the surprises, big or small, planned or unplanned, good or bad, that make every day worth living.
My aunt was diagnosed with colon cancer last summer. Right before surgery, she told my mom that she had been surprised by all her friends and neighbors cleaning her house and driving her kids around- that she had never realized people cared about her so much. It was that surprise that literally give her the will to live that day and those following it. And when she finally walked into the Albany airport, three weeks later and almost cured, and fourteen of my cousins and other family jumped out from behind the waiting chairs and yelled “Surprise!” at the top of our lungs, she was given another dose of that will to live. This time, she wasn’t hooked to life support and feeding tubes. And this time, the surprise gave us some will, too. No, we were not hovering between life and death, but our will came in the form of teamwork, cooperation, and unity. It was then, watching her sunken eyes light up and then fill with tears of joy and relief, that I realized what a true miracle a surprise is.
Something as small as a cup of hot cocoa or as large as half of your extended family surprising you at the airport have the same effect. They catch us off guard, make us laugh, cry, scream, jump, or hug someone we barely know. They take our breath away and leave us grasping for air, or even just keep us going, keep us breathing, after a bad day. That paradox is nothing short of a miracle.
In a way, surprises save us. They save us from the monotony of everyday life, throw out the life preserver and pull us away from the math problems, chores, soccer practice, Spanish conjugations, and walking the dog. Surprises are the peanut M&M in the bag of plain M&M’s, the “crunch” that pulls you away from the predictable, everyday chocolate.
Someone once said, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” I would steak my life on that and more: I believe that what you don’t know helps you, saves you, and gives you an extra push, especially when you need it the most. Surprises are the variable in the formula of life. I believe in surprises.
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