Small Surprises

Some one told me that he thinks of his son in heaven as God’s right hand man, making sure John sees good things in the world. Sometimes, I think he is right.

This summer, while Jacki and I strolled a flower farm, I smelled a rose. And then jumped, because there was something in the rose. It was a good thing, and not at all what I expected.



Yesterday, after going to the zoo I was reflecting on how difficult it is to mingle with all the life going on around us, all the evidence of the continuance of the universe, all the display of the basic human experience (babies, toddlers, couples, thirteen year old girls).  It really is an exercise in pain, somedays to see other people living.  I can’t help but over relate all that living to my experience, to my story.  I have a had time seeing that other people have anything else to their story, because I am so absorbed in envy of the appearance of their family.

We stopped at the store after leaving the zoo, and for the first time in a long time, I talked to the man in front of me, offering him a funny comment after I let him cut in line since he only had a bag of bread rolls, and then he called home to tell his daughter to listen to her Nana.  I told him how once Andra told me she always listened to her Grammy, she just didn’t listen to ME.  He proceeded to tell me his story – that he had recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was a Marine.  That he recently received a phone call that one of his good buddies who was also a Marine, in Afghanistan, had returned to the states, gone on a date with his wife who was 9 months pregnant, and they were both hit by a semi truck and killed.  The baby survived.  With his three big sisters, 5, 7 and 10.  His buddy had left all 4 children in his will to the man in front of me.  Who already had a 7 and 10 year old. 

So 5 months ago, he was a guy, who got his own kids every other weekend and was going back to college after serving his country.  Today, he has 6 kids – 5 girls and an infant boy, and he is trying to make sense of his unexpected situation.  He is trying to understand how an acquaintance leaves you their 4 kids without telling you.  He is grappling with the knowledge that when faced with just living the life he picked, but knowing you were breaking up a family, he chose those kids. It struck me that I am trying daily to make sense of the quiet of my life, and it was a stark contrast to the noise this man was going through.

I wish him great luck.  I hope for those children.  And I am reminded that everything is not always what it seems – sometimes, a guy buying bread has more to his story than it appears.  And I hope when he steps back some day he sees the frog in the rose as a beautiful thing. I was glad for the reminder that other people have a story too.



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3 Responses to Small Surprises

  1. Tony says:

    Amazing story Jenine…. Much like the encounter Phil told me about while we were in the forest re Valentines Day.
    Peace be with you sister.

  2. MIchelle says:

    Wonderful story! I always look forward to reading your blogs. You have an amazing talent at writing and you really should think about writing a book.

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