Learn to Expect the Unexpected

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde

One of the blessings of growing up on a farm is that one learns to expect the unexpected. The most healthy and productive crop could be wiped out in one afternoon by a hailstorm, just before harvesting, taking with it all the profit for the season. A summer arrives without the relief of afternoon thunderstorms and crops and animals wither and die in the heat of a drought.

One October, in my early teens, the heaviest snowfalls in memory fell over most of East Griqualand. The ewes were lambing and because the tractors and trailers were snowed in, we rode out on horseback, with the snow up to our horse’s bellies, to rescue the young stock in the camps. In no time the farm kitchen was filled with bleating lambs as we hand-fed them on heated milk and brandy to help thaw their frozen bodies.

’n Boer maak ’n plan is an Afrikaans expression used frequently in South Africa which means that no matter what the problem, a farmer will make a plan to overcome obstacles.

Disappointments occur when our expectations are not met. One of our greatest fantasies is the belief in perfection, such as the perfect partner, the perfect children, the perfect house or the perfect life. No one’s life is perfect, no matter what might be portrayed in the media. When disappointment sets in with expectations that are not met, we are quick to apportion blame. This leads to unhappiness, both for the giver and the receiver. If we shift our mindset to look at the unexpected as a challenge and a blessing, then we free ourselves from the shackles of disappointment, anger and dissatisfaction.

Many a time when I have felt let down, I have made a conscious effort to shift my frame of mind and ask myself the following questions:

~ How is this disappointment serving my life?
~ What can I learn from this?
~ For what can I be grateful in these changed circumstances?

These questions will help to shift your perceptions, and will comfort and inspire you to get on with your life. Being grateful for your life and the lessons that have helped you to grow opens your heart to unconditional love.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

This post is an excerpt taken from my book You’re Awesome. You can read the full chapter in my book.