I love going places with my sister where there is ordering of any sort involved. That’s because almost without fail, when she places her order, she drops the line “Surprise me” at some point in the conversation.
If she’s getting a cappuccino and the barista asks what flavor she’d like, Meghan will give her trademark dimpled grin and say, “Surprise me!” If she’s ordering a salad and is offered various dressing options, her response is the same: “Surprise me!” If I’m getting her something to drink out of Mom’s fridge, I can almost guarantee her refrain will echo once again: “Surprise me!”
I always stare at her, wide eyed. “What if you get something you don’t like?”
She just flashes a grin at me and shrugs. “That’s part of the fun of the surprise.”
Me, I’m a planner. I like to map it all out, write a script. I cling to the illusion of control. Truth be told, I’d rather do the surprising than the being surprised.
But this sister of mine, she lives with her arms wide open. She embraces life, holds out her hands to accept the surprises God has for her, just the way she does with her coffee.
So when the time approached for Meghan’s baby to born, I should have expected that this surprise-loving sister of mine would make room for as many surprises as possible.
“Girl or boy?” I asked over the phone, breathless, after her ultrasound.
“We’re going to be surprised!” she said, and I could hear the smile in her voice.
“What names are you thinking about?”
“We’re keeping it a surprise!”
And of course, the details of the birth itself were a surprise. Two days before her due date, Meghan went to the doctor. “You’re progressing right along,” he said. “It should be any day now.”
But the next day nothing happened. And nothing the next day either, or the day after, or the whole week after.
And then, ten days past her due date, just when the doctor was ready to speed things along, surprise! The baby decided to make a grand appearance. And the new mom and dad unwrapped their surprise package right there in their hospital room…a little gift of a girl named Addie Mae.
And when I first looked into the face of that sweet surprise, I wondered what other surprises God might have up his sleeve. What do I miss out on when I try to make the plan and script it all out myself?
This little girl, this eight-pound bundle, she is teaching me already. Her life whispers, as soft as breathing, This is life! This is joy! This is a whole new world of divine surprises.
So here I am, God, with my eyes squeezed shut and my arms wide open. Surprise me.