Nancy Boyd: Expecting the Unexpected

Winter has shown us just how unpredictable our norms can be, we live our lives in a perpetual state of expectation. Throughout history it has been a given that our expectations often lead to disappointment and frustration. We like being in control and knowing how things will turn out. This leaves us in constant disarray within.

We are anticipating the return of Spring, the flowering of our gardens, and the renewal of our day-to-day lives in some way. These things are likely to occur, though not in the order in which we might like them to be. I admire how the birds seem able to adapt so easily. They have begun to return though; the weather does not seem conducive. They will mate and create their summer homes among us, and they will adapt to the uncertainties of life. Not so with us, unless we determine to reexamine our lives and adjust to living with greater trust.

Some people call this season Lent and whether or not you are inclined to live within this practice, it is wise to discern where we are in our lives, both outwardly and inwardly. The practices contained within Lent, for those who practice it, are designed to cause us to evaluate our lives, and learn from our experiences. This examination of our personal day-to-day lives is something we might all benefit from, whether in a spiritual practice or not.

We are most often caught off guard when life does not continue as we have expected it. This is such a vulnerable time in our lives, whether it’s a loss of a loved one or the loss of something we have deemed necessary to our wellbeing. In examining our present circumstances, it can be wise to determine how much we base our wellbeing on things being predictable. Living out our days in this way ultimately sets us up for a multitude of things we are unprepared to go through.

Lent seems to ask the question, have you forgotten the magnitude of your faith, have you finally been disappointed enough to return to the source of your strength? For all of us, it is a time to embrace the reality of our lives. Where does your strength come from? Have you taken time to embrace the ways in which you might learn to be more adaptable? I know, I don’t like it either but if I don’t examine my life in depth from time to time or season to season, I surely will not be prepared for what will come upon my ordinary life.

I find that life surely does not give us any promises that all will be easy, good or fair. Often these days we are so inundated with negativity, hatred and discord, that we may easily find ourselves buried underneath it all. I only know that for me, my faith is the only thing that is predictable, even though it does not come with a guarantee that life will go according to plan. It does, however, provide me with strength when all seems lost. Yet, throughout my life, I have come to know that whatever it is I am facing, God is with me and when anyone or everyone gives up on me, He does not! This also includes times when I might give up on myself without His guidance.

In whatever way you determine to reexamine your life, whether it be Lent or a specific season or a return to nature, making it a practice of renewal will surely bring you greater peace. Life will never be as predictable as we might hope but hope comes from preparing ourselves, as Christ did, for the challenges and pitfalls we will most surely encounter along the way. 

A candid remark that seems perhaps a bit less than serious says that “none of us will make it out alive.” We are survivors of so much that is not predictable, and it is for us to determine how these times will affect our life from beginning to end.

Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.

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