Secrets and Surprises

…two things that make me itch with discomfort.

Secrets are the worst. Even the good kind. I do not like being in on something that involves a person (or two) being kept in the dark.

Sort of related, the  rumor of a looming surprise party puts me on edge. Even the “on the calendar” events that I host need to be planned to the minute: when what will be served, what the topics of conversation will include, how we’ll avoid traffic jams around the pita chips. There’s just too much that rolling with the punches leaves to chance. Chance and surprise…they must be not-too-distant cousins.

And yet, the over- control thing isn’t working. To be frank, it’s making me the biggest ass I know. To be even franker, I wrote this post earlier in the evening without actually experiencing what I had written about for a good paragraph and a half. I shared that I was ready to do the hands in the air thing and to really throw the whole future thing over to God and the universe and Elvis.

But I had not actually done this. Not even one hand up.

Refer back to me being a control freak.

To be fair, I had mentally played the scene over, gone through the whole melt down in my imagination and apparently, that was good enough for now.

But it wasn’t, of course.

I secretly planned to continue taking every hour of every day and forcing it into a shape of my design. I would secretly look for another job that was just like the one I left after taking a leap with a gut feeling. I would smile and nod and look away anxiously when people asked “so what now? what’s on the agenda?” poorly pretending to be going with the flow while secretly composing a fool proof plan.

But secrets don’t work. Especially the kind you keep from part or all of yourself.

So having previewed this lie of a post, I deleted it, marched my flannel-clad self into the kitchen, and had a freak out royale. I kicked and shook my fists and did something that looked like the angry dance I used with kids in therapy. And it all felt good. Really, really good. It sounds so ridiculously zen-ish but it truly shook something loose. It was probably the funniest looking prayer I’ve ever put together. I imagine God being like “is she seizing??? should we call somebody???” And then he gets it. Because he’s God and he’s like “finally darling!! Welcome to the party. Have a mini-quiche.

I want to write about the steps that got me from there to here. But that’s the idea behind surprise, right? You can’t always tell where and why it happened. There are just wicked cracks in the plan that let a little light in -and you know that craziness about light and how it can’t be put out with water or a basket or a bushel and what not- so next thing you know it’s taking over the entire calendar you had set up.

It doesn’t always feel like light in the way we think of light; as hope and promise and warmth. It can be overwhelming and blinding and frightening. All I can be sure of right now is that it’s a hell of a lot better than sitting in a dark of my own making 24/7.

So with that ahead of us and in the spirit of New Year’s, here’s to the surprises of 2013. (I’m toasting you with water. Don’t be offended. We’ve all got to get to work tomorrow.) To the unexpected that we notice and to the mercies that will be in our blind spot. To leaning into the curve. To trusting that we’re in loving hands even when- especially when things seem most out of control.

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