When I was two years old, my mother enrolled my older sister in a tap dancing class. Since I was considered too young, I sat on the sidelines with Mom to watch their performances. Yet, not wanting to be left out and trying desperately to mimic my sibling, I would get up and do the routines. Eventually the instructor told my mother that since I was able to perform, I might as well join the class too.
It wasn’t long before we were scheduled to give a show in public. The class was invited to dance at a local social club—I can’t remember if it was the Lion’s Club or the Rotary Club, but it was some organization like that. I do remember they had a stage, and all we girls, dressed in western garb, lined up on it to perform “Cowboy Bob” who was the “rootinest, tootinest (bang! bang!) cowboy you ever saw.”
Because I was the youngest and therefore the shortest, the teacher had placed me in the middle of the line. And I was doing all right until the dance required us to make a 360 degree turn. I got halfway around and stopped dead in my tracks.
What I hadn’t known was that painted on the back wall behind me was a huge mural of Jesus, His hand risen in blessing. Gasping with astonishment, I raised my palms, then stood there, gazing at the painting in awe, while the rest of the class finished the turn and continued the dance.
After a moment or two I recovered enough to realize I had fallen behind. Quickly I completed my turn and caught up with the other dancers just as they finished.
My mother said I stole the show. The audience even wanted me to come back out and do it again. But of course the moment, the surprise was gone.
God sometimes surprises us by showing up and interrupting our routines when we least expect it. Later, in my adult life, He did it, once again, with something on a wall.
I was searching for a teaching position and had gone to my alma mater to update my resume. I had also thumbed through the college’s listing of job opportunities but hadn’t seen much I liked. I then walked out the door but stopped dead in my tracks.
As I had been leaving the room, out of the corner of my eye I had seen something on a bulletin board. And this was one of those situations I call being “nudged.” I had a long drive ahead of me and wanted to get started on it. Yet I knew that if I left without taking a second look at that bulletin board, it would bother me so much that, even if I got all the way home, I would have to return to see what was on that wall.
So then and there I turned around, went back, and read the notice I had barely glimpsed before. It turned out to be a flyer for a job fair. Figuring attending it would give me some practice interviewing, I wrote down the information—and it led to a job, which led to meeting my husband, which led to having my two children.
My entire life changed from something God wanted me to see on a wall.
May God grant that I take notice every time He’s interrupting my routine with a surprise. His surprises are always guaranteed to be sublime.