Surprise Me.


“When’s your birthday, sweetie?” my kind-hearted co-worker asked earlier this week.

“It’s over Christmas break, there’ll be enough parties to go around by then. Don’t worry about it.” I smiled

“Oh, we do desserts for everyone’s birthday dear. So what’s that date then? And what flavor of dessert would you like?”

“Well… It’s December 27. And y’all can surprise me, I’m not particular.”


I didn’t do a word or a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of 2014, but I think I’m going to do one for the new school year, since that’s the calendar my life is set by anyway. I’d like to Look for Surprises this year, and not just in birthday desserts (I later recanted and decided that my favorite flavor was pumpkin because yum).

I want to be surprised by my students. They may not speak English or read any language yet, but I’m preparing for them to surprise me.

I want to be surprised by my friends, by their everyday acts of thoughtfulness and selflessness. I want to notice it and appreciate it and enjoy the surprise.

I want to be surprised by my church, by the community and the love and maybe even the theology.


I once told a friend that I didn’t like surprises because they were never done well and I was often disappointed. But I think I’ve misunderstood the joy of little surprises. Some surprises are so small they might go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Like when  friend shows up on a Monday night to flip through the newest issue of InStyle magazine with you, because she knows you’re living alone for the first time. What a beautiful, simple surprise.

Or when a new coworker keeps bringing more and more materials by your room because she knows you’re starting from scratch with a new classroom again and she has things she can spare. Including all of her chairs. She’s decided they’ll mostly sit on the rug anyway.

Or when an old student remembers you and gives you a hug even though she’s in middle school now and almost certainly too cool for that.


A surprise doesn’t have to be an elaborately planned secret to be worthy of celebration. And I could use some more celebration in my life, so I’m looking for surprises this year. Won’t you join me?

What’s surprised you this week?


Photo by W Mustafeez via flickr.

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One Comment

  1. First of all, I’d just like to say that I’ve been reading your blog now for a few months and really enjoy it!

    So my surprise of the week was a friend from Sweden flying down to Rome to celebrate my birthday with me! I also used to dislike surprises but I’m learning to enjoy them, too!

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