A piece of writing meant for this space has been resisting my efforts for nearly a week now. I don’t think it’s being coy – shy, perhaps, not ready to show itself.
Last night, I chose early bedtime over another attempt at writing. Just before lights out, I read these paragraphs at the beginning of a chapter, The Gift of Surprise, in Mark Nepo’s book, The Exquisite Risk (pp. 114-115).
Their discovery was a pleasant surprise for me – a reprieve – and an invitation to keep my heart open.
The Gift of Surprise
Our capacity for surprise is often an unused blessing. Brother David Steindl-Rast has described surprise as another name for God. With each appearance, it prods us to ask, Beneath our problem solving, what is life asking of us? Beneath our ideas of happiness or suffering, what does it really mean to live?
So often, we seek to change things, only to find that our honest engagement with experience often changes us. In trying to make life fit our needs, our sense of need is often softened or broken until we fit life. Humbly, this inversion of intent is, in itself, a subtle wind of miracle. And surprise often announces that this miracle is near.
Because of the very nature of surprise, our first challenge is to stay open to the unexpected, not to harden into the position of our initial reactions. For this sort of stubbornness makes change a monster and makes learning next to impossible. We can’t learn to see if we can’t keep our eyes open. In just this way, staying open to the unexpected expands the openness of our heart.