The 12 days of Story [for the Unexpected Life]

Joyous holidays, dear friends!


On this day designed for surprises, a few realities have come into sharp focus: 1) How God caught the world off guard, showing up in skin with the voice of a baby; 2) How every angel trying to give someone a heads-up about God’s coming initially freaked the person out; and 3) How unexpected my life has been.


I recently heard someone say there are no good surprises after you’re a kid. Once you age out of the joy of the unknown, you’re simply left with the feeling of being out of control.


It’s my 5th Christmas as an entrepreneur, and not a day goes by without reminders of what I cannot control. So…I am praying for greater joy in the surprises.


I love how Abraham Joshua Heschel summed himself up: “I have one talent, and that is the capacity to be tremendously surprised, surprised at life, at ideas. This is to me the supreme Hasidic imperative: Don’t be old. Don’t be stale.”


As we celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, I can’t resist reflecting on my Unexpected Life for the next 12 days and invite you to do the same. Let’s end the year bemused and amazed that our own stories can still surprise us…in the best of ways.


And to begin…here’s A Christmas Blessing by John O’Donohue…and a reminder that we too have angels, coming not to freak us out but to invite us to courage.


“May the Angels in their beauty bless you.
May they turn toward you streams of blessing.
May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
To come alive to the eternal within you,
To all the invitations that quietly surround you.
May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds
Into sources of refreshment.
May the Angel of the Imagination enable you
To stand on the true thresholds,
At ease with your ambivalence
And drawn in new direction
Through the glow of your contradictions.
May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes
To the unseen suffering around you.
May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places
Where your life is domesticated and safe,
Take you to the territories of true otherness
Where all that is awkward in you
Can fall into its own rhythm.
May the Angel of Eros introduce you
To the beauty of your senses
To celebrate your inheritance
As a temple of the holy spirit.
May the Angel of Justice disturb you
To take the side of the poor and the wronged.
May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you
In worth and self-respect,
That you may live with the dignity
That presides in your soul.
May the Angel of Death arrive only
When your life is complete
And you have brought every given gift
To the threshold where its infinity can shine.
May all the Angels be your sheltering
and joyful guardians.”


May you be surprised by joy in your Unexpected Life,