We’ve all heard it before, ‘Expect the Unexpected’ in relation to our work, our kids, or life in general. It’s true. There is something to the practise of being prepared for nearly anything that could come our way. Eliminating the surprise is half the battle. It’s when we aren’t expecting those changes that come our way that we are affected the most.
Last Saturday I was helping to mow a friend’s yard who is elderly. She has several trees in the front that haven’t been pruned very well, and over time, have grown several large limbs at a height someone like me, who is six-feet-tall, needs to avoid.
Sure enough, as I was rambling on with the mower listening to my Spotify mix, I suddenly felt, and heard, a crack on the top of my head. Stepping back, I realized what had happened. I walked full speed into one of the largest tree limbs smacking the top of my head. It felt like someone had hit me in the head with a baseball bat. It was very painful.
For the rest of that day, and the day after, I struggled with dizziness and the feeling like I was going to faint. Had I not have given blood that morning and been working in the hot sun for several hours prior, I probably would have had the Mrs. take me to the hospital for an MRI. But, I knew most of what I was feeling was just fatigue and dehydration. Still, the whack on the head was very unexpected. I went back today to mow her grass again and, rest assured, I was very aware of that limb this time.
Running into that tree was a good lesson for me. It reminded me that we can be moving along on our path of life focused on the task at hand and not even be looking out for the giant limb that’s about ready to knock us in the head if we don’t duck. I’m sure there are many of you who can relate. There may have been a time when you were living life just chugging ahead with your job and family, when there was a sudden log in the road, tree limb in your path, or just an unexpected obstacle that caused you pain.
The shock of running into those obstacles can shake us and cause us to doubt ourselves. Like most people when they run into barriers, I initially turned on myself to place the blame. If you’re like me, all I could think of was, ‘How did I not see that coming?’ and ‘You could have killed yourself right here in this woman’s yard. What would the Mrs. do?’ I asked myself. ‘You’ve been mowing lawns for over forty years and you would think by now you would know better?’… I think my ego was bruised more than head, frankly.
We may not be able to prevent events from happening that bring those unexpected logs to block our path or limbs to knock us in the head, but we can learn from them. If we allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes and take them as a lesson on what not to do, we’ll be way ahead of what may lay await for us in the future.
If you’ve run into one of those limbs and acquired a nice lump on your head, you’re not alone. Whether it was physical, emotional, or something in a relationship, you can learn from it. You may find yourself doing what I did initially by beating yourself up for it. If you are, I would encourage you to give yourself a break this time and instead ask yourself if there was anything you could have done differently that would have prevented it from happening.
Sometimes, however, there isn’t anything we could have done, but for those times when there is something we could have done, take a close look at how, what, and when it happened so that you can be prepared in the future to help prevent it from happening again. And most of all, always remember that you’re human and God loves you just the way you are; bumps on the head included…