Discovering the Unexpected | The BridgeMaker

Discovering the Unexpected

By on Jul 27, 2009


None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives. – Kathleen Norris

The unexpected can change our lives.

When changes occur, our daily patterns, lifestyles and relationships can be enhanced and taken to the next level. We can develop new insights. New opportunities will present themselves that didn’t exist before.

Discovering the unexpected is an a-ha moment in our lives when the dots become connected and the next steps we need to take become clear and exciting. The unexpected is what we worked so hard to achieve, dreamed for so long to come true and kept the faith in believing, even when we felt like giving up.

The unexpected can be little rocks and they can be big rocks. Little rocks look like the surprising telephone call you receive from a friend you have not heard from for years; or the unexpected tax refund check; or a snow day that keeps you home.

Unexpected big rocks look like the surprising promotion at work; or coming up with an idea that will change lives (including your own); or waking one day and finally realizing your life’s purpose and passion.

Watch for falling rocks ahead

An unexpected rock fell on me recently and caused me to have an a-ha moment.

Death is not only about endings, it’s about beginnings, too. The recent death of mother has been creeping inside my gut for the past couple of months. Her death happened at the same time we learned of Mary Beth’s diagnosis and the need to repair a brain malformation.

After returning from a quick, four-day visit to see my father the days following my mom’s death, it was time to help my family make preparations for my wife’s surgery and the long recovery period that would follow.

I pushed down many of the feelings that started to wake when my mother died. My focus was set on supporting my children through this difficult time and, of course, giving the same support to Mary Beth. There was little left for me.

Three weeks after my wife’s surgery, I took her to Virginia to be with her family for the remainder of her recovery period. Because of work commitments, I returned to Kansas. The time away from Mary Beth allowed me the opportunity to shift from being a caregiver to the one seeking some care.

During this time I discovered the unexpected.

I discovered my pain was more acute than I realized. The memories of my mother sitting in a dark room with a drink in one hand and the end of her cigarette providing the only light in her other hand, came flooding back. I mourn for that helpless child who wanted to make everything perfect so the lights would come back on again.

Those years shaped me and defined me in ways that need some changing today. I discovered to break free from the pain I need to address it once and for all, give it a name and then bury it.

So, now, it begins. I’m not sure what I will discover six months from now, but I’m sure it will be unexpected and filled with goodness and healing.

Inviting the unexpected

Approaching this journey, three separate concepts will help me anticipate the unexpected. I hope these will help you and will invite the unexpected in your life, too:

  1. Develop a plan, a vision, for what your future could hold.
    Think of the question, “What would it would look like?” and apply this to as many areas of your life as possible. For example:

    • “What would it look like to be financially independent?”
    • “What would it look like to give and receive the healing you have always longed for in life?”
    • “What would it look like to be completely happy and free?”

    An important part of expecting the unexpected is to hold a vision in your mind of what it would look like; what it would feel like. When you spend time vibrating on this positive feeling, it has a way of manifesting itself in your life.

  2. Act when information is available.
    When the door begins to open and you see a faint beam of light seep through the crack, this is when you can confidently place your hand on the handle of the door, turn it, open the door even wider, and then step through. When you receive information that begins to answer the question, “What would it look like?” it is time for deliberate action.
  3. Expect the Unexpected.
    Wait for it and watch for it. Know deep down in your soul the unexpected will happen for you. However, the unexpected may look completely different than the image you might have for it. As a result, balance, faith, and patience are the best tools to use in order to discover the unexpected.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • Linda Vickery St Myers

    When my unexpected happen I was confused and dazed for about a year and half. My husband left me after 35 years of marriage for my girlfriend of 25 years and announced it at my daughters wedding.
    I have since moved to start a new life in Cincinnati – kicking and screaming but the doors that are opening for me are fantastic. Our God is an awesome God.
    I have started my on own ministry to help others heal, became a Life Coach. My ministry is called Patchwork Ministry – Putting the Pieces of Our Lives Back Together Again. My web site will soon be up and I will have a ebook available about my struggle and how God saved me.
    I love your insights and have used a couple of them in classes I have taught.
    I have also been accepted into the National Speakers Women’s Ministry of the Nazarene Church and hoping to do this full time. God does amazing things. I keep saying why my story and he keeps telling me why not it will inspire some one that they will make it.
    Linda St Myers

  • @ Zandi: So glad you are here.

    @ Cristiano: Welcome!

  • My son told me to check out your blog and I must say I’m impressed, very helpful.

  • Zandi

    Hi Alex
    You have no idea what reading this article has done for me. I guess I’m at that point in my life that Patricia refers to as the pain “coming back in your life to bite you in the ***”. I’ve overcome the impossible obstacles, I’ve acquired the material things I said I would but I still have this dull ache and sense of emotional turmoil….
    I prayed for guidance and even changed my password to be that request because I’m ready to heal. I so want to move on.
    I guess I also had no idea that my pain was this acute. Even worse – I was convinced I was ok for the longest of time!
    I am so grateful for this community. Thank you Alex for the unexpected.