The Path of the Unexpected

Will phoned yesterday; I haven’t spoken to recently. I asked: ‘Did you and the family have a good Christmas?’ ‘Hilary and I caught Covid on Christmas Eve. We’re just getting over it…’

Later I met Peter on the cliff-top path. He told me that he’d had Covid in November but is fine now.

…And Jack’s still in hospital with Covid… One thing that we’ve learnt from Covid over the past year is to expect the unexpected.

Just before I met Peter yesterday I heard someone behind me on the path: ‘Malcolm, Malcolm!’ It was a woman’s voice I didn’t recognise. I heard the unexpected voice again, more urgent this time, ‘Malcolm, Malcolm! Come here – now!’

I looked round, and realised that there was a black Labrador that shared my name. It wasn’t a random unknown woman demanding my obedience. I considered, but decided not to respond to her command.

This morning I was walking along the same cliff-top path. There was a thick frost and it was freezing cold. The sun was rising in a clear sky over the sea. Beautiful! I was grateful for my warm clothing.

Then I saw it – the unexpected… six people swimming in the sea! It wasn’t just a quick dip – neither an Anglican sprinkling nor a swift Baptist full immersion, in then out. It was twenty minutes swimming, chatting, chest-deep in the water…

Musing on Genesis28… Jacob has lied, cheated and deceived his Father and his brother. He’s running away from home, on the path to his Uncle’s house. He’s tired so he sleeps – and dreams…

God, at the top of a stairway that reaches down to earth, says: ‘…I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…’

Jacob wakes up and thinks, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.’

Jacob’s unexpected path… unexpected dream, unexpected promise, and unexpected realisation.

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