Tales of the Unexpected

A year ago there was a lot of bad news – the start of lockdown, people suffering from Covid, daily infection rates, deaths, pressures on the NHS, gloomy predictions…

There was also good news. We valued and appreciated the contribution of ‘key workers’. We celebrated the kindly act, the generous gift, ordinary, good people going the extra mile. Young children and old men raised money for worthwhile causes. ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ brought colour to a dark world.

Despite hopes that the pandemic would soon be gone the bright hope of last spring became lost in a dark winter. Most of us were personally affected, experiencing stresses in our homes, pressures from work, or the sickness or bereavement of those close to us.

Yet, through it all, the unexpected phone call, the thoughtful card, the caring gift or bunch of flowers continued. Individuals purposefully, almost subversively, looked for the positive, deliberately and persistently choosing to be agents of kindness – of ‘Tales of the Unexpected’.

One of the biggest lessons I’m learning is to look for the unexpected – the unscheduled meeting when out walking, the immediate need I can give to, the unplanned opportunity for conversation…

I repeatedly return to the Jesus narrative and see a man who continually said unpredictable words or did outrageously kind deeds. As one who seeks to follow the Jesus path, the ultimate ‘Tale of the Unexpected’ continues to be my inspiration.

Next Monday, 17th May, is a significant date in coming out of lockdown. Physical and social contact can increase. We can hug, but it must be cautiously. I’m not sure what a ‘cautious hug’ looks or feels like; maybe this will be another ‘Tale of the Unexpected’.

I am sure that greater freedom in the coming weeks will give us increasing opportunity to visit people, invite others for coffee or a meal, extend our random acts of kindness and create more ‘Tales of the Unexpected’.

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