Dealing with the unexpected

Guest column


With no hint of anticipation, it arrives unexpectedly and carries with it a rainbow of emotions. These range from extreme euphoria to the darkest valleys of sadness. I have, as well as most of us, experienced it. The name we refer to it is “surprises.”

We have a choice on how to react and respond when encountering surprises. For example, finding out that your position is being eliminated — this has happened to me. Instead of squandering my time wallowing in self-pity, I tried to focus on the positive end of the situation. My energy was focused on the job that I then held and continued to do my best. Along with that, my other energies, coupled with prayer, were centered on finding a new job. I ended up with a better position and salary.

Other initial surprises are wrapped in happiness, like finding a twenty-dollar bill in an old pants pocket. How about finding an object that you thought had been lost? Another example could be the unexpected discovery of a letter from your mother, written long ago.

On the other side of the coin is the tragic, surprise loss of a loved one. I have personally experienced this, as my only sister was killed in an automobile accident by a drunken driver. Words cannot express how much it has affected my family. But, there was hope, and slowly the pain and sorrow ebbed.

How we deal, as previously mentioned, with surprises is the key. Some may be positive, while others require a mountain of empathy and understanding. The following are a few examples that I have incorporated when dealing with surprises. These are intended to spur your imagination to come up with additional options.

Let us take a surprise that has a positive effect on one’s life:

— Accept that we have no control over surprises.

— Enjoy the moment, if possible, as it is one of life’s unexpected joys.

— Don’t let your emotions steer your reactions. Pause, count to 10, and give yourself time to respond.

On the other side of the positive surprises are the tragic ones:

— Surround yourself with a solid core of friends and family, where you can talk openly about your grief and sorrow.

— If possible, seek the support of your local clergy.

— Spend time in prayer and meditation.

If these suggestions do not seem to help, then possibly seeking professional help is in order.

In conclusion, we can be positive, accept the unpredictable–emotions and reactions in check–and meditate and pray, that is “Let go and let God.”

Daniel J. Paul is a retired school administrator. His articles focus on education, old-fashioned family values, relationships, and other topics. Go to his website at meaningfuldifferences.net.


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