You may have noticed. Life is full of unexpected things. In fact, over the years I’ve noticed that a lot of the things I fully expect to happen don’t happen because something I didn’t expect to happen … happened.
It’s been a couple of years ago, now, that my wife and I went to downtown San Francisco to meet some of our family, do a bit of shopping, enjoy a nice meal, and just spend some time hanging out in The City. Our ‘gathering point’ was one of the many downtown parking garages. The hustle and bustle of San Francisco is predictable, most of the time. People scurrying up and down the streets, on their way to or from work in one of the high rise offices. Tourists, of course. (They’re not hard to spot; the folks from someplace like Des Moine, who are dressed in shorts and flip-flops in the middle of August. They’re walking the streets of The City freezing because they didn’t know that San Francisco can be bone-chilling cold when the fog rolls in, even in the dead of summer. They weren’t expecting it to be cold when they packed for their vacation. It was probably hot in Des Moine. The morning fog that chills the air? Unexpected.)
After we parked our car, we met our family and enjoyed mixing in with the crowds. The noise of the streets was sort of exciting. The Cable Cars roaring by, with people hanging on for dear life. Those electric buses and the streetcars.
Some of the people walking by looked down at their feet as they made their way along the sidewalk, like they were looking for a dime someone might have dropped, or as if they were trying to avoid stepping on a crack in the sidewalk. Others chatted casually with a walking companion, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings; not seeming to notice how exciting walking a street in The City could be.
Our family outing was such a great time for us. Exactly what we were hoping for; exactly what we expected. Until … Well, until it was time to leave, return to the parking garage, find our car, pay for our parking. That’s when something unexpected walked into our otherwise lovely day. As I approached our car, clicking my ‘unlock’ on my ignition key, I noticed that I needn’t have bothered to unlock my car. Someone else had done it for me. They obviously didn’t think they needed a key; they broke the driver-side front window and rummaged through the entire car. I couldn’t help wishing I had parked in a different place. If I had only known ahead of time.
There’s something strange about walking up to your car and seeing the window open and glass all over the front seat. Something you don’t expect. Life is full of unexpected things, I suppose. The bible says so, too. In fact, Jesus in one of his stories talked about a man who wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around him. What Jesus was cautioning us about, I think, is that It’s pretty easy to walk through life looking down at the sidewalk of every day, not paying much attention to where we’re going, or where we might end up, or what unexpected something may happen at any time.
The Lord said, “… be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”