Earlier this week, I was thinking about how easy it was to experience wonder or to be surprised and delighted when I was a child. It was also easier to laugh hard and often back then. According to the internet, adults laugh an average of 17 times a day, while a child laughs 300 times a day. Since I’m growing older, not younger, is there any hope that this can change?
I didn’t pose this question to anyone in particular, but two things happened that made me think God was listening. First, I was walking near a fountain in my neighborhood when I saw a lizard on the fountain’s edge. It then slipped and fell into the water. I quickly walked over and saw it frantically trying to climb up the side, but the choppy water knocked it back into the fountain, where it was flailing. I grabbed a nearby stick and gently put it under the lizard. It immediately clung to it with all of its limbs. I lifted it from the water and set the branch by the bushes. As it scurried away, I grinned. I was so happy that I happened to be walking by and could help that little lizard. I also thought about the times when I felt like I was drowning, and someone came to help me.
A couple of days later, I was running errands and already behind schedule when I remembered, I had to stop at the grocery store. I dashed in and grabbed the three items I needed. Thankfully there was only one customer in the express lane, and she had just paid. Yes! I rushed over only to see the cashier and the customer deep in conversation. No! I inwardly screamed. Just then, I remembered that I had recently prayed for God to help me slow down and enjoy my days more instead of rushing through each one in a blur of to-dos. I almost laughed out loud as I thought of that prayer. I took a deep breath and waited patiently. A minute or two passed before the cashier turned to me and said, “It’s her birthday next week!” I inwardly groaned and thought, “Oh no, now I’m in the conversation? How long is this going to take?” But, with my prayer in mind, I politely smiled and said, “Happy early birthday!” to the customer ahead of me. The cashier continued excitedly, “Guess how old she will be! Oh, I have to tell you! Can you believe she will be 90?” Wow! I would have guessed 70 and said so with a genuine smile this time. “What’s your secret?” I added. The woman beamed at me and said, “God.”
We laughed and chatted for about another 15 minutes! There were no customers after me. To think, I hadn’t even wanted to wait 30 seconds! When it was just the cashier and me, she asked about a box of cookies I had just bought from a local bakery that was also in my cart. It was too hot to leave them in the car. The cashier in the next lane piped up and said she was also curious about those cookies as she had heard they were pretty good. The three of us laughed and chatted for another 10 minutes! I would have offered each a cookie, but they were a gift. I left the store with a smile and a plan to buy cookies for those cashiers soon.
I started the week with a discouraging outlook on the frequency with which I could expect to laugh, be delighted, surprised, or experience wonder as an adult. I ended it with hope. Hope because God can provide moments of surprise, delight, wonder, and laughter anytime, anywhere. And because God showed me yet again that He always hears me, whether it’s a question I only ask myself or a prayer.
Shared by Patricia Wu
One response to “Hope in God’s Surprises”
Wonderful experience. God is always listening…and answering in such surprising ways. Thank you Patricia be blessed and be a blessing.