Yesterday evening was full of surprises. Sally and I went to a Salsa night at the church, being held in aid of Christian Aid. I was surprised at just how bad I was, but also that I enjoyed it. I believe that I lack the gene that allows people to dance smoothly and gracefully, but I had a go anyway. Ole!
As I was driving towards the church I was paying attention to some pedestrians in the middle of the road and was taken by surprise by a metal pole sticking out from a market stall that was being erected. In one swift move it took the driver’s wing mirror off the car so that it was dangling simply by some cables. Grrr.
Surprisingly the wing mirror seems to have been designed with precisely this sort of event in mind, and it had come off intact. I was able to push it back onto its mountings and it is back to normal. Phew.
When we got home we were surprised to see something was on the ground towards the back of Sally’s car. Normally it is on the drive, but my car was in the way so Sally had left hers neatly parked facing the traffic flow, outside our house. As we got closer we realised that someone had driven into Sally’s car door, leaving some paintwork and a crease, and knocked the wing mirror off. Spooky grrr.
Annoyingly (and sadly unsurprisingly) they did not leave any details so we have no idea who has done it. It has been reported to the police but unless someone goes and owns up it’s unlikely that we will be reimbursed (not worth claiming on insurance). Grrr.
I believe that we are not defined by what happens to us (surprising or not) but by how we respond to those events. We may be annoyed (grrr) when something unpleasant or upsetting happens, but we do not need to allow that bad thing to define who we are. We can respond with grace, love, peace, patience and allow those things to define us. And if we are followers of Jesus, seeking to be free samples of Jesus, his Spirit at work within us helps us to respond in those surprising ways.
Be blessed, be a blessing
A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defence’s closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all,” the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. “Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom.”
He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened.
Finally the lawyer said, “Actually, I made up the previous statement. But, you all looked on with anticipation. I therefore put to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty.”
The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.
“But how?” inquired the lawyer. “You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door.”
The jury foreman replied, “Oh, we looked, but your client didn’t.”