Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Expecting Something Unexpected

flickr.com/Tetsumo

Have you noticed how life is full of surprises? A sailor tried to find a new trade route to China and stumbled upon a new (to him) continent. Alexander Fleming inadvertently left a culture dish on a window sill and discovered penicillin. Another scientist discovered saccharin when he noticed a strange, sugary taste in his sandwich. I read that in 1989, an unidentified "middle-aged financial analyst from Philadelphia" paid four dollars for a painting at a flea market.* He didn't even like the painting -- it was the frame he wanted. So he took the picture apart...and when he did, a copy of the US Declaration of Independence fell out. It was folded up, about the size of a business envelope. He thought it might be an early 19th-century printing and worth keeping as a curiosity. A few years later, the man showed the print to a friend, who suspected it might be valuable and encouraged him to look into it. He did, and learned that only hours after finishing work on the Declaration in 1776, the Continental Congress had delivered the handwritten draft to a printer with orders to send copies of the Declaration to "the several Assemblies, Conventions and Councils of Safety and to the Commanding Officers of the Continental troops, that it be proclaimed in each of the United States and at the head of the Army." This was one of those original copies. No one is sure how many were printed that night; today only 24 survive, and most are in poor condition. But the one in the picture frame was in excellent shape, having spent the better part of two centuries undisturbed. In 1991, it sold at auction for $2.4 million. Life is full of surprises...full of good things. Of course, most surprises are not nearly as dramatic as these, and it’s all too easy to miss good things, commonplace as they are. Jesse Owens, 1936 Olympic gold medalist said, “Find the good. It's all around you. Find it, showcase it and you'll start believing in it.” Unexpected and pleasant surprises occur every day...random kindnesses from a stranger; would-be tragic accidents narrowly avoided; sicknesses healed.... We will notice if we look. We will see good sprinkled liberally over every day if we are open. And who knows? As Owens said, we may come to believe that goodness is all around. All we have to do is look. -- Steve Goodier

*Bathroom Readers' Press, 1996

SHARE this message with your Facebook friends. "LIKE US" on Facebook where you can find a powerful daily quote.