What do you do when the unexpected happens? Is there a should-do response that fits? The reality is that not everything happens as we anticipate. In my experience, there is very little that fits with my imagination. I anticipate a range of events unfolding in a particular order. Even as I allow for variations and possibilities, a picture begins to emerge that I am confident will be real in time. When life develops differently, I rationalize and explain. My imagination was not wrong! I just forgot to include a few variables.
I am slowly learning that there is a different way of approaching the present. Life is not a script. Everyone has the freedom to make a choice in this moment. What it will be, why they will chose one particular direction over another, can be imagined however nothing is real until it happens. Giving others the space to be themselves is a gift within itself.
When the present unfolds, it is the present. Any conclusion that puts the present into a box is potentially short sighted. The story of how others reacted, when the “Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd,” (1 Corinthians 1.23) highlights that they missed the story. The story is found in listening and dialogue.
Predetermined actions often anticipate the negative. I find myself guarding, preparing, and being ready. Each mechanism is framed on protecting my agenda and standing. An alternative is being open to collaboration, being ready to help someone succeed. Listening and being aware allows one to see a picture greater than one’s imagination. It is the beginning of community.
I know there are things unfolding that I do not understand. It is clear that however great my vision is, that there is more. Slowing down, letting the present unfold, being open to the story that is, are openings to a better way of living. It is an invitation that is always here. Even as a storm dominates the dawn, I can sense the beauty and wonder that will come after the cleansing rain.