“No matter what, expect the unexpected. And whenever possible, be the unexpected.” quoted Lynda Barry. Many things were unexpected this year. Winter was very mild here this year. It was guaranteed to be a harsh winter according to the persimmon seed and the farmer’s almanac. Well, it WAS a harsh winter in other areas of the country, but not really here. Some areas of Kansas had heavy snow, but here in Udall, it was just plain cold! It was unexpected.
Unexpected was my fruit trees coming out before the winter had passed. Yes, it occurred after the temperatures soared to the 80’s in the middle of winter. The winter wheat came out of its dormancy. The winter was being temperamental. The fear of a lack of fruit this year had come upon us last night with a promise of a freeze. The temperature was to drop to below freezing with my plum, nectarine and peach trees in bloom. For those who can and jam, this is disconcerting, but I think of those whose lifestyle is their orchard, and my heart breaks. This will have to be a wait and see because it will be a repeat tonight.
I tried to do what I could and get out there before the heavier frost and do what seems unnatural and unexpected to many who don’t have fruit trees. I watered the ground, and froze it onto my tree during the wee hours of the morning with the hose. My trees are too tall for bags, too few to have burn barrels or buy a frost buster. I thought about burn barrels and doing the “Walk in the Clouds” movie scene and do butterfly wings and blow the heat to my trees.
If you have never watched the movie, it is beautiful on vineyards and set in post-WWII. Of course,it is a romance. But I would not look so lovely. Picture me in a heavy-set of jeans, clumpy boots, a down coat and sheets used for wings. Just lovely 🙂
We have no idea what life is going to throw our way. Sometimes I hate the unexpected.
The Unexpected. It happens with everyone. We should expect the unexpected. They can come in forms of happiness or in great sorrow. The diagnosis of cancer, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, house, health. We do not set out to have these sorrows in our lives. A dear friend recently lost her son to an aggressive, quick and uncommon cancer and then before her son passed into glory, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. This past week he had surgery and it has spread beyond it original area and they are making hard decisions on the future. We may ask why? Or God why? Jesus asked why of his Father, but his attitude was the difference.
Not that I haven’t cried out in anger, screaming at times in my room, WHY? We all have our unexpected heartache. Even as I write this, it struck me at this instant, I am exactly one year anniversary of losing my job as a labor and delivery nurse. It was unexpected and swift. So much so I sat in a chair for three days doing nothing but staring, crying, not even bothering to change my clothes from the pajamas I was in. Then for 2 months I was in a fog. The unexpected of not being able to find another job at a hospital, but not wanting to return to the 27 years of night shifts in the high risk infants and children in home care and 32 years of being a good nurse seemingly down the drain. But I needed a job and for a brief time I did return to nights to supply income because there are bills to pay and two children in college.
Until another unexpected happened. A brief thought came to mind, a phone call and a job of an orchestra assistant and accompanist at a school and for students at a nearby college. Not what I had in mind, but it was a job and very unexpected role. I am from the “dark side” my orchestra director stated because I played the french horn. I know nothing of strings but willing to make it a go, because I do know how to play the piano and music.
Then comes the next unexpected. Hmmm, I am liking it more than I thought, although I miss nursing terribly. I love kids in general. There is the challenge of winning over students who loved their former orchestra assistant. Some made it very clear…… One thing with me and a challenge, I like challenges and I don’t give up easily. So….. here comes the food. Not any food, but gourmet cupcakes fashioned to make me the sugar pimp to these kids. Once a month, for those birthdays who come that month, I have them sign up and put their favorite cake and icing. Then I bring the top three flavors of unfrosted cupcakes and frost them there with a personal touch. Unexpected was an anonymous note from a student at Christmas time who told me I was her favorite teacher in school (as well as the orchestra director) and they were glad I was there. It was a happy tears unexpected for me.
Unexpected was abnormal blood work in November 2015 and mild TIA (transient ischemic attack) or “so we really don’t know” the doctor mentioned, which left my entire left side weak and 24 hours in the hospital under observation. Unexpected was the gathering of family to the bedside and on the phone and repairing of relationships and affirmations of love. There is still recovery on the TIA and it throws another unexpected on the vocal cord and my singing. The blood work is still in its infancy testing, along with infusions and a wait and see attitude. I become frustrated when I have been a goer and doer and after two hours I am exhausted for the day. I smile, act like I have strength, plow through the day and wait until I get home to crash. It has been a game changer not to go full steam all the time. Yet through it all I see hope. “Hope doesn’t announce that life is safe, therefore, we will be; instead, it whispers that Christ is our safety in the midst of harsh reality.” Patsy Clairmont, Living Lively in the Valley. My reality is not as harsh as others. God is still in control and as difficult as it may seem throughout the years in my eyes, God has been good. I try to see the positive on all this and God is still putting on pressure for this lump of coal to become a diamond. As much as I want to plan my life, life has a way of throwing unexpected things my way to show I am not in control, but HE is. God gives me the unexpected good to show He loves me and He allows me the unexpected “bad” to show how much more He loves me and will carry me through when I allow Him. Sometimes He graciously and gently holds and carries me along even when I am kicking and screaming .
Do I question him? Why yes, yes I do. I have to keep in check not to get bitter or angry or give up. My unexpected is not your unexpected and comparisons do not belong to us. I think what messes most with our heart, mind and emotions is we have a picture of what our life should be and it throws us off when it doesn’t go our way or what we think should be normal. “Normal is just a setting on the dryer” said Patsy Clairmont. She forgot to mention the dryer tumbles….
I think I will go outside and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, the flowers on my fruit trees while they last. If I expect nothing, I might just be surprised later in the season to find unexpected fruit and if not….there is always next year.