Friday, June 7, 2013

Lesson 20- SURPRISE!

How being afraid can make you a happier person

There are good surprises and bad surprises, but all surprises can teach us something about being ready.

It’s birthday week here and a lot of secret conversations are going on around me. The smallest of us- my granddaughter Valerie Fields (whose name to me is now Trouble) - is planning a birthday party for her mother. Everything must be a surprise, she keeps telling me. The party is at my house and I only know one detail. There will be a piñata.

Here’s the problem.

Half the people on Trouble’s invitation list live out of town. The others have not been told about the party at all. You can’t have a well-attended or well-organized party without sharing some of the details. I am trying to teach this to Trouble without crushing her dreams of surprising her mom.
Everything can’t be a surprise. And you don’t really want it to be.

Not all surprises are created equal.

Some are good:  Surprise! You won the lottery. Or-Surprise! Candy is falling from the piñata.  
Others are not as good: Surprise! There’s no hot water when you take a shower. Or- Surprise! No one came to your party because you forgot to invite them.  

All surprises can teach us something, if we’re willing

Like when Trouble jumps out at me from behind a door or piece of furniture, which she finds so thrilling lately. I am so surprised when this happens that my heart quickens. Sometimes my spine tingles. But every time I am surprised. Yet, nothing is new about this antic. And no matter how many times I tell Trouble this scares me to death, she thinks it funny. For my own safety, I am trying to accept that this is fun for her. This can teach me to relax more around her. Or when I am rounding corners in my house.

We can also learn that water heaters don’t last forever. Keeping track of that could spare us an unpleasant surprise.

Bracing ourselves for surprises teaches us to be both prepared and relaxed.

You train and exercise. But when you injure your ankle, you don’t have to see it as a personal insult. You continue your training after you rest and heal. We keep records on the water heater, but use that cold bath to pretend we are in a pool or lake.

With surprises, we are given a chance to learn humility and gratitude.

We realize that everything in life is not meant to be controlled. We manage the things we can and accept the things we cannot. Sometimes we welcome these things as pleasant surprises.

Being prepared is being open to good surprises, too.

We must not let our problems blind us. We must see joy when it comes in the form of a surprise.
Like when friends show up at your house with a piñata. Or when Trouble jumps out in front of you because it makes her laugh.




  1. It was the best birthday party EVER! Thank you for helping Princess Trouble surprise me. xo

  2. Thank you for being such a good sport! It never ceases to amaze me just how much responsibility 'littles' are willing to take on. And how much bossing around grands will take!