What I Didn’t Expect Was…


Last weekend, while my wife was off leading a one-day spiritual retreat, I expected to spend the day polishing up our little tarnished patch of earthly paradise.

First, I expected to climb up onto the roof with my trusty electric blower and blast the burgeoning leaves out of the rain gutters, and then to clamber back down.

Leaves blown away: Check. Clambering back down: Well…

What I didn’t expect was for the blower’s electrical cord to catch on the bottom of the ladder and knock it over into the garden, nearly murdering my newly-planted fall flowers, and leaving me stranded on the roof. What I didn’t expect was for not a single neighbor to be near (“It’s Saturday, people!”). And what I didn’t expect was to have my own little unscheduled spiritual retreat. On the roof. In record autumn heat.

What I also didn’t expect was that, after a surprisingly sweet talk with God, someone would finally come along and set the ladder back up. Or that it would be the same mailman whose failure to pick up outgoing mail I’d been griping about all week. Or that he would turn out to be a young man (also named Mitch) who, like me, is perpetually lost in thought. Younger Mitch is clearly a poet. Or a graduate physics major. Probably both.

Finally, what I didn’t expect was that, after three additional hours of yard work in 93° heat, I would develop a minor case of heat stroke (dizziness, racing pulse, low blood pressure), resulting in yet another unscheduled talk with God. His message in a nutshell: “Slow down, buddy. You’re Older Mitch, remember?”

I then did a mental assessment of previous failed expectations and was surprised at how much I’d learned from them, and at how I felt about them now: they’d gradually been transformed, like that talk on the roof, into something sweet.

So I vowed, as I have in the past (but keep forgetting), to surrender my expectations and embrace the unknown. Because, if the saying “Expectations are premeditated resentments” is true (and it is), then its counterpart is also true:

Surrendered expectations are premeditated peace.

“For this slight, momentary affliction is producing for us a weight of glory that is beyond all measure.” ~2 Corinthians 4:17

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to What I Didn’t Expect Was…

  1. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    I hope the view was worth the wait for rescue!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mitch, from one old man to another – welcome to the world of “we ain’t what we used to be.”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. ken riddles says:

    Interesting day indeed!- still the one The Lord had made 😎

    Liked by 3 people

  4. landl30 says:

    Love the pic… (I know it’s not you) and the post. Haven’t been left on a roof… but a number of other unexpected perches come to mind. Lot’s of “slight momentary afflictions” along the way of ‘maturing’. One of my favorite CS Lewis citations (The Weight of Glory)
    Best and Blessings,

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I would say you picked up some divine perspective last weekend. 😉 It’s those moments of divine serendipity that make life so interesting when we realize we’re not in this alone. So happy for your “unplanned retreat.” Blessings.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Tina says:

    This reminds me of the time my mother-in-law went out on the roof to clean one of the second story windows. She got stuck on the roof too. I believe it was a neighbor who had to come through the house and open the window for her. 😊 Mishaps do happen. Was hers a talk with God? I have no idea, but she sure learned a lesson even if there were no words spoken between the two.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I love this so much!! Well, except for the heat stroke part, though God will use those things as reminders, too. And I don’t love the heat (in our little corner of the world, it’s been around 98-102 for highs – until yesterday when it was a mere 89. It was sad how thrilled we were for the “break” in the heat…
    I’m thinking it was probably closer to those temps on your rooftop, too. Glad you’re feeling well enough to share this experience now!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    Again, very thought provoking. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. backuphill says:

    I was recently stranded on the roof as I installed gutter guards because I am tired of cleaning said gutters. The hose caught the ladder just right, and down it went. I finished what I was doing and, luckily, someone was home. I sent a text for rescue and it wasn’t too long before someone with a smile appeared below.


  10. riverlifepsalms1 says:

    Great Message Mitch!!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Mystic Dee says:

    Watch out for those unexpected events, Mitch.
    In 2009, I was retrieving some articles from the loft on top of my office. I reached out and lost my balance. My leg got caught in a ladder rung and I fell twelve feet to hit the concrete. My right leg was fractured in four places and my knee was shattered. After a long convalescence I was able to work again.
    There were some silver linings however; my wife was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012. I was able to take an early retirement. So, we took a two month trip up and down the East Coast, USA. We visited with many friends and relatives. Since then I’m able to to care for her. Also, I was able to start writing again. Some days she is very needy and I’m not able to write much. I can say we have a very close relationship today, while we’re able to laugh a lot, believe it or not. Needless to say I don’t climb any ladders above six feet.

    Liked by 6 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      That is indeed a major series of unexpected events that have shaped your life and your wife’s. So sorry to hear about her Alzheimer’s, but it does sound like you both have worked hard to find the silver lining.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Gary Fultz says:

    Ya, introspect is unexpected, especially the outcome thereof. I can relate to the downed ladder situation. I jumped for a nearby tree branch…don’t remember what went down for a few hours. ym dwors nda thouthsg..mmm… dworkndit.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Heidi Viars says:

    THANK YOU for this beautiful reminder today. I am so grateful to the Lord, that this did not turn into another “scar-story” … when I first started reading, my mind went there!!!
    Grateful for God hearing us in the middle of our distress.

    Liked by 6 people

  14. anitashope says:

    God does have a sense of humor and uses it time to time to get our attention. Glad you are safe but sorry for the heat.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Wow, this is one of your better essays, Mitch. Remember, an atheist is convinced, without evidence, that there is no God, while an agnostic just hasn’t yet seen enough evidence to be convinced that there IS a God. It’s essays like yours that add a few grains to the positive side of the balance-scale.

    On a more humorous note: Your gardening episode makes me fondly recall my spring, summer and part of autumn spent in the Columbus OH area four years ago. Gardening was all about MULCH. Competing TV ads yelling, “WE’VE GOT THE BEST MULCH! Huge dump trucks, shuttling back and forth heaped and overflowing with MULCH, spilling little trails of MULCH. I love OHIO.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. This is good, Mitch. I would offer that “Surrendered expectations open the floodgates for blessings and our hearts to hear from God Himself.” God has a way of getting our attention and knows exactly how to reach us. I am so glad that you were open to His tender touch in your brief time of “testing.” It gave us all food for thought and reflection.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. revruss1220 says:

    I love it! Glad you were rescued.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. smzang says:

    “Surrendered expectations are premeditated peace.”

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Mary Sweeney says:

    You amaze me how you put words on a piece of paper and it comes to life! Truly your gift.
    I was afraid it was going to be another scar story there for a little bit. Glad it turned out to be much more than that. Funny how God gets us into places where we can hear him loud and clear.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Boy, could my husband ever relate. He gets out there and thinks he is 45 in the heat and does a bunch of stuff also. I try to tell him what you are saying…slow down…but he hasn’t seemed to hear me yet! Fun post…for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Beautiful, Mitch! I too am working on surrendered expectations. Great quote, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  22. An entertaining story with a terrific moral. Love it!

    I was on our roof a couple of months ago. Almost came down the hard way. I decided then that this great-grandma needs to stay off of roofs from now on. But oh, I do love the view from up there!

    Liked by 4 people

  23. SLIMJIM says:

    Yikes! Sounds providential though…but wow that’s also very hot in October no?

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Cheryl Kosec says:

    “Expect nothing, accept everything” My new mantra after reading a book about overthinking and expectations! And welcome down from the roof!

    Liked by 3 people

  25. My goodness, Mitch! Last weekend was in the 90’s, I do believe. So glad you got rescued!

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Precious One says:

    Saving these last two quotes for true…😉

    Liked by 3 people

  27. We do seem determined, as we age, to forget that fact.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. da-AL says:

    Great post, Mitch! It’s not always easy to see the bright sides of things lol

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Sometimes our best intentions to simply do something helpful turns out to be more challenging than we expected. I had a similar experience recently with our laundry room. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Eliza says:

    I’m glad he came along…. you definitely learned a lot…. I’m sure it’s hard to remember that it’s not the same strength today for it’s the same mind and everything…
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

  31. My inner reflection would have been, “I knew I should have gotten that cordless blower.”

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Bill Sweeney says:

    I love those unplanned talks with God. I’ve had many over the years – “help, I’ve fallen…” 🙂 (more dark humor).

    Liked by 3 people

  33. BoardFlak says:

    God always has ways of getting our attention – even so human nature wants to growl at events and try to plow through them. It takes willingness to listen and openness to correction to understand that a “yield sign” is not a challenge. It’s good that you came through it all right, and congratulations on listening.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    The Lord knows how to get us alone and make His point, right? I hear you, brother, the Lord is resetting our pace.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 1 person

  35. We always have to be aware of overdoing things. Keep hydration on your mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Pingback: Goodbye, Autumn. Hello, Fall. | Mitch Teemley

  37. Pingback: The Power of Slowing Down | Mitch Teemley

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