There are two kinds of bad news, painful events, and dramatic decision points. The first is expected, anticipated, and foreseeable. The second is a surprise. Usually it comes out of a blind spot and hits harder than anything you thought possible, moving everything into a state of uncertainty. Physically these types of events are problematic, sometimes dangerous and life threatening. Metaphorically they are always dangerous, full of uncertainties, and potentially life changing.
One is just not prepared. It is easy to make excuses because the very nature of the event says you cannot plan for it. The dysfunction behavior by someone you trusted is always a surprise. Far too often the consequences extend far beyond anyone’s ability to see. The decision taken in a moment that contravenes every value and priority one holds often changes one’s life forever. The decision of another, carelessly made, can touch multiple lives in a single instant. In the latter one often experiences or hears of the pain caused by the results of drunk driving. Whatever the cause, wherever the event plays out, the unexpected comes with an extraordinary price tag.
In looking back at the unexpected there are three areas that stand out. First, one can expect the unexpected. There is no need to be pessimistic, negative, or dark about the possibility. A smile, word of hope, and excitement can be part of any planning or preparation.
Second, when things happen they happen. The fact that “a huge wind blew up, churning the sea,” (John 6.18) is just a fact. Life happens. What happens next is the real question!
Third, regardless of the outcome life is about learning, growing, and making a difference. Bad things happen. Painful events occur. The need for mercy, hope, and love just increases! The more empathetic one is the more difficult the unexpected becomes because the pain, anguish, and turmoil is very real for all of us.
Today is a bright, sunny day full of potentials. The rain clouds of yesterday have gone and everything is possible. Now is the time to seize the day.