Maybe not everyone is so regularly startled as I am.
I came home from a ten day trip to find that my gardens had exploded with new blooms, clutches of green tomatoes, and dozens upon dozens of cymes of elderberries. The grapes decided to indulge in a bit of conquest, leaping over the roses and aiming for the sidewalk. It reminded me of the children’s book character Mr. Tickle, who had extremely long arms and used them most mischievously, giggling at day’s end about his tickling pranks. The sunflowers had thrown their orange petals back in glee and were waiting, swaying and smiling broadly. I could almost hear them laugh; laugh at their own audacity and pomp. A flower with a stem the size of a small tree! The very notion! In my mind they are the giraffes of the flower world; a small proof of God’s sense of humor. I digress.
So that was just walking in the main path. Then I was assaulted by the sheer number of things, useful and good, that proliferated in my home. Sturdy pots, a deep sink, machines to wash and dry, toilets to perform humble but ever-useful duties. The prayer corner, a place that becomes more beautiful with time; this too is an astonishing sight after many days away from it. There is where home feels most poignant.
It’s all unexpected and I looked about and in my heart the impression was, “Oh, so you’re all here still, I suppose!? AH, you are so much! How has this all come to pass?”
My dear bird was wary. For a number of minutes he stared back at me as I called to him in our familiar language of clicks and purrs and words. Then his guard dropped and he pressed his warm little body close to the bars of his cage and purr-trilled back. It was all unexpected for him, that he’d come home again and be with us all again. He had no idea of return, of this remembered life being his again. What joy! I opened his door and he snuggled under my chin, rubbing his head back and forth. “Pretty bird!”, he said.
There has been some healing in my soul though I was not aware of any particular treatment prescribed nor followed. I used to expect too much, want too much; to my shame I truly did have an ugly expectation troll, grumping about in my heart, hollering about what I deserved and stomping around, ruining moments I should have been grateful for, should have enjoyed more. Somehow he was evicted, and joy moved in, and gratitude. All is in reverse now; it’s a joyful pessimism of sorts…I expect life to be quite hard; I do not expect easy times and smooth ways, and yet, I am almost ridiculously happy with each and every good I encounter. I do not lay claim to blessings, and yet I find them dumped over my head.
God is kind. I don’t endeavor enough, I do not struggle enough, I am ordinary. I did not merit any of this, but God gifts as He sees fit. It’s all unexpected.