Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You Never Know What's Going To Happen

~Published in the Charleston Gazette, Sunday, August 12, 2012~

While I was visiting a friend a few days before she passed away, she suddenly looked into my eyes intently and sadly said, “You just never know what’s going to happen.” Her simple statement had a great impact on me – not so much the words themselves, but the emotion with which she delivered them. I’ve thought of her and that statement many times in the six years since her passing.

We had been friends and neighbors for many years. Our children played together and attended the same schools. After they were grown, we talked often, sharing recipes and political views and news about our married children and grandchildren. Life was good. Then a routine visit to her doctor turned out badly and, after much testing, the doctors stunned her and her family with a devastating diagnosis.

Today, as I was thinking about my friend and considering life's fragility, I felt anxious and vulnerable. Then my grandson, sixteen, made a surprising statement. At first, I considered it just a typical teen-ager’s remark, and laughed, but then realized he was serious and that his quote had merit. He said: “The only thing I dislike about my life is that I can’t control what happens.”

And just like that! I was grounded again. “Of course none of us can control what happens in our lives,” I told him. “We aren’t supposed to. We must trust that God is in control, surrender our lives to Him and then, with our final destination assured, we can concentrate on enjoying the journey – one day at a time.”

Life is filled with unexpected surprises, some treasures, others challenges, but if we approach every situation with absolute faith in God, we find our doubts and worries are short-lived. When change occurs suddenly or dramatically, we must remind ourselves that we are never alone. God is with us and within us! While circumstances are temporary, God’s love is eternal and enduring. The power of God in us is constant and unchanging.

We may feel that our life is just perfect the way it is and we’re not ready to make a change, but if we keep an open mind, sometimes there is a blessing even in uncertainty.

In an ideal situation, we’d learn to manage the endings in our lives with appreciation for all that has been and to see the beginnings with an expectancy of good unfolding.

Change doesn’t’ have to involve struggle. If we trust God to provide all we need in each moment, we can accept change with open arms and move forward with ease and grace. We may even find ourselves saying, “Thank you, God, for the gift of new opportunities.”

As my friend might say, “You just never know what’s going to happen.”