Make room for the unpredictable
Who knows how God might bless you?
As a creature of habit, for years in a row, my morning walk was quite predictable. Add in some stubbornness, and on one snowy morning, I set out with every intention to combat the slightest interruption.
Not two minutes from home, my plan began to spiral. The front of me was iced like a cupcake overturned. My steps were as quick as a carrot in cream soup. And my steadiness? Well, it was almost consistent. I blew like an inflatable lawn ornament unleashed from its yard.
So this is what it’s like, I thought, to be a snow globe’s figurine who, though years of Christmas seasons and multiple shakings, eventually unglues from it’s terribly weak foundation.
It’s easy to be so stuck in our routines and our own plans for our lives that we don’t leave room for unpredictable interruptions. But it’s important that we’re willing to be stopped in our tracks sometimes. God might have something special planned for us.
“Hey! Hey, little girl!”
I spun full circle and nearly lost my footing.
Surely that man isn’t calling to me, I thought, glancing down at my puffy, orange coat. I was anything but “little.” As I squinted through the flakes and scanned the ground, the man diffused my confusion.
“Hello! Yes, you. Hello!” he shouted again.
It was too late to deny it. The man had called and he knew I had heard. I started towards his door.
The man’s cheeks were red as his robe pulled tight, and his shaky wrist splashed happy coffee onto the steps. “Hello! Hello!” The ice was melting, and not just on his porch. I grew disarmed as the man came in clearer.
Despite my routine, I didn’t recall having seen him before. Then again, I rarely looked up. If the man who now holds a great piece of my heart, if Grandpa Quint hadn’t called out to interrupt, I’d have missed one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. One of the few which cannot be shaken.
It’s easy to wear layer upon layer, to protect our own skin. To be so full of habit we miss the calls to draw us in. To hide for so long, we forget what it’s like to think outside ourselves.
“Good morning!” exclaimed the man, with a grip like every grandfather I never had. “I watch for you walk by every day and your ponytail swinging. I’ve always wanted to meet you. Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas!” I replied, and without saying much more, shimmied down the driveway. When I turned to wave goodbye, Quint’s chuckle burst into the frosty air as undeniable proof.
This is something new...
Thanks to Quint, I became a creature of a different habit. Morning after morning, I looked forward to interrupting Quint’s breakfast with a wave. I shook his composure with a goofy jig. I blew kisses and surprised him with faces smudged against his window and suddenly, enchantment filled my mailbox.
Apple donuts, cherries, and chocolates. Crayon drawings and typed notes were taped to my front door. God’s timing was impeccable for the both of us.
Further conversations with Grandpa Quint revealed what I never suspected. Quint’s heart was not jolly at all. In fact, upon that snowy morning, Quint had no hope for living. He’d just lost his wife to cancer.
“And then I saw this peculiar burst of orange bop by,” Quint tells the story. “That skip in your step... I wanted it. I needed it. I needed you.”
So that’s how my God chose Grandpa Quint to choose me. God took my walk-as-usual and spun me once more. He called me to respond to the call of an old man. Because He did, I learned only presence can fill emptiness. But that’s not all my God did.
God gave me a grandfather when I didn’t know I needed one. When Quint didn’t know he had the room to be one, God knew.
It’s been years since I adopted the grandpa who adopted me first. It’s been one year since his passing. But even when Grandpa Quint had grown quite shaky, our relationship could not be shaken. Our morning spins intermingled with movie nights, soup dates, and magical trips to grocery stores. We waltzed to old songs in the kitchen, played golf in his living room with plastic cups, and wore matching t-shirts, to boot.
Every time Grandpa Quint would hold my hands and pray, he continually thanked God who gave us life to save it. The God, who when present, glues us down to an eternal foundation. Even as He glues us together.
While routines aren’t bad, we must be willing to detour from them. This week, be careful not to confuse interruptions with intrusions. Who knows? You just might meet your own Grandpa Quint.
Now, how will you do it? How will you make room for unpredictable blessings?