People Will Surprise You

People Will Surprise You June 3, 2016

This morning, my husband Bob borrowed our neighbor’s forklift to move a new whole-house LP tank into place. Then he loaded his toolbox and supplies into his work van and set off for a client’s house, where he’s painting a porch.

And…just a few days ago, without any urging, he carried bunches of flowers in from our yard and arranged them into bouquets.

Photo by the author.
Photo by the author.

People will surprise you like that. We’re not all easy to pin down. We’re not all one thing.

I try to remember that when I see people presented one way in the media, or in everyday life, knowing there’s likely more to the story.

The person in question isn’t limited. The only thing that’s limited is my ability to see.

I see people not as they are, but as who I expect them to be. That’s why they surprise me all the time—and why I need to remember to ask for spiritual vision instead.

Physical vision—what I see with my human eyes—is clouded by biases and assumptions.

But spiritual vision—what I see when I ask for Spirit to open my eyes—is clear and focused, without the haze of my own baggage and expectations. It’s unlimited, just like the person.

We forget, though. We forget that we’re limitless. We forget that we can ask for a different way of seeing. And so we put people—including ourselves—in boxes.

Think of the mousy guy you sat next to in algebra class who turned out to be a stand-up comedian.

The aspiring writer who splits her time between poetry and horror stories.

The 13-year-old girl on America’s Got Talent who seemed nervous until she began to sing, and an aria spilled out.

The ragged, tattooed young man who sat next to you on a plane and turned out to be a successful philanthropist.

The button-down CEO who meditates and talks to angels.

That’s why we need to ask for spiritual vision. “Help me to see with fresh eyes.” Life can look very different when we make that simple request. We can see beyond our own limited thinking, witnessing kindness, resiliency, wholeness, talent and renewal instead.

So how will you see the world today? What will spiritual vision show you? How will you be surprised? What will be your poetry, your aria, your bouquet?

Debra Engle is the author of The Only Little Prayer You Need. You can find her on Facebook and at


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