You never know what’s round the corner

About 7 years ago I retired after 38 years in teaching. Oh yes! Sit back and enjoy all that free time. And today? I am currently a full-time paid prison chaplain. I never saw that one coming!
Sudden illness or a bad diagnosis, losing your job unexpectedly, an unexpected pregnancy or winning the Lottery! Not all surprises are unwelcome – but they are surprises. And often life-changing, or at least, life-style changing.
The more we plan – the more we can expect upheavals. Not that there isn’t a place for planning but we can’t anticipate every eventuality. Being prepared – a great Scouting motto (and an Aston Villa one! – well I am a Brummy) is only sensible – Being prepared well in advance is also a cautious and wise move. But there are the ‘what ifs’.
I am a great fan of the ‘back-up plan’. Don’t take a pen – take two. Make sure the phone is charged and the wallet handy – just in case.
Sometimes though the course we set ourselves on is not necessarily the right one. The ‘round the corner’ surprises may be an attempt to get us onto a more sensible course. Illness – are we overworking? Debt – are we overstretching ourselves? The unexpected though can be nothing to do with how we live our lives or of the plans we have made. A loved one hit by a debilitating illness may not be due to me but it definitely impacts on me.
So how do we see what’s coming round the corner? Well, quite simply, for those occurrences that are not of our making, we can’t. What matters is not avoiding them – it’s dealing with them.
Perhaps I’ll explore that next time!

John Belfield
Kings Lynn Roman Catholics

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