Friday, October 23, 2009

Unexpected Rewards

“Be ready to be surprised.” ~ Loesje

A long time ago, I read somewhere that one should start the day by asking to witness a small miracle unfold when they go out into the world. Being the eternal optimist, I approach each day with the same expectations of a child on Christmas Eve - good things will come as long as I believe they will.

Yesterday began like an ordinary day; after I dropped my daughter off, I headed to my son’s high-school, where every Thursday I volunteer at the library. As I drove, I noticed a trash bag on the road in the lane beside mine, and as I passed it, I thought I saw the bag move.

I passed it and got to the light, but all of a sudden I wondered if anything alive was inside of it and I decided to turn around. I parked my car on a side street and walked back on the main road toward the bag, a bit apprehensive at the thought of what I would find in it. I picked it up from the road and took it to the sidewalk – by then I was pretty sure it was just trash, but I moved it nonetheless so that a car wouldn’t hit it.

I left the bag on the sidewalk and went back to my car. As soon as I turned into the side street, I saw a large black bird – a crow, I believe – flying low and holding something in its beak. When it saw me approaching, it flew on a nearby branch, still holding tight to the loot. I didn’t think much of it and got inside the car. While I was ready to start the engine, I saw the black bird land in a yard, still holding the food in its beak, and slowly hop toward a bush. Another bird – visibly injured - came out from under the bush and hopped painfully until the other bird dropped the food it had been holding in front of it and flew away; the injured bird picked up the morsel and hopped back under the protective cover of the bush.

I sat in my car and watched in awe. If I hadn’t stopped to move the trash bag, and parked my car right there, I would have missed out on the chance to see this act of random kindness. What appeared as a nuisance, especially since I was already late, turned out to be an unforeseen moment of sheer inspiration.

I drove away and went to the library, and the rest of the day I felt blessed by that one small occurrence. I’m certainly not implying that every single bothersome event hides a joyful moment, but sometimes good things just happen, and unless we are open to embrace the unexpected, we might miss them altogether.

I got to the library ten minutes later than I had planned, but I was in such a cheerful mood that I got a lot of work accomplished anyway. I don’t know what was wrong with the bird on the ground, and I’m not sure of what type of connection it had with the bird that came to feed it, but I do know one thing for certain – small miracles do manifest if one is willing to see them.

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