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Expect the unexpected

This week I confess detourthat I tried my hardest to portray a certain image. I had the opportunity to showcase to others through the media, a little of who I am, what I believe and what I do. I was aware that I wanted to portray a certain aspect of me, and not necessarily show others all of who I am.

I don’t know about you, but because of this, I tried to be as prepared as possible, so that my portrayal would be as close to perfect as it could be. As is usually the case when I get prepared for something, the unexpected occurs.

This time I was engaged in our final media push before www.targanewfoundland.com. I had prepared cameras, routes, and I was fairly confident of my abilities. I didn’t count on the challenges of summer construction and battery failure.

By the end of each of the four media opportunities, I had much to be thankful for, and yet I quietly analyzed what went wrong, how it hadn’t gone as planned, and my frustration with the unknown.

After the last media opportunities were completed, I took a little time to reflect. Even beyond the quick reflection, (and after seeing the final edited results) I realize now that for me, this is quite the analogy of life. In the course of my existence, I have learned to expect the unexpected. I have faced detours in my ‘plans’ for life. At each of these junctions, I have been faced with decisions. At times these have been light and perhaps superfluous ones (what? no chocolate dip for my soft serve ice cream?); other times these unexpected changes have brought about major shifts in my life plan, my future. detour 3

I realize now that I need to be flexible. Life is a work in progress. . . At times the detours and bumps in the road bring me to a beautiful oasis, a place, or an encounter with someone who can transform my life.

I’m sure there are many more analogies that one can use to describe this feeling and experience. I almost feel quite sure, as well, that at some level each and everyone meets the unexpected and has to make a choice. This can be so simple and beautiful when the unexpected is joyful, meaningful, and wanted: Presents, a birth, new love, new opportunities. This is far harder when in the context of pain, loss, disease, injury, oppression, injustice.

detour 2

I cannot forget that in the times that I have been faced with detours, or when I feel that the path is crumbling under my feet, there is a great need for me to stop, take a breath, and be present. Be present to myself, and be present to the One who created me.

When I encounter the unexpected, my temptation is to keep the encounter all inside of me. The good, the bad, the indifferent acts all occurring because I am who I am. That is not the case. When I stop, I realize that there’s so much more to life than me. I breathe in and remind myself I am continually in the presence of God. I breathe out and I recognize that the Creator is present in far more ways and places than just in my selfish mind and heart.

I am so pleased that my media encounters this week were positive and life giving. I feel blessed that in this time I encountered six people who live transforming and vital lives in the community. I feel blessed that the mistakes and challenges, the unexpected circumstances forced me to pause and take stock of who I am in relation to all the rest of this beautiful world that God has created.

David Burrows

About David Burrows

David Burrows is a priest of the church, currently serving in parish ministry within the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, a place he has called home for the past ten years. He consistently engages dialogue and action with the wider community through creative outreach projects. Cycling, kayaking, and driving fast cars are distractions in his life.
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