Life is what happens when you’re looking sideways.

When someone gives you a handmade welded cross at a restaurant dinner

When someone gives you a handmade welded cross at a restaurant dinner

Life is what happens when you’re looking sideways.

Or up.

Or down.

Or doing something you probably shouldn’t be doing.

Or singing a song you probably shouldn’t be singing.

Life tends to bloom when we’re least expecting it.

During road rage or snowstorms or furnace failings.

Or when the political world goes to hell in a hand basket.

Life happens when you’re least expecting it,

when your tolerance erupts,

or your spelling fails,

or someone bombs a subway,

or someone irritates you on Facebook,

or the car slips on ice, careening left and right,

and right and left,

and you don’t know if you’ll live or die,

and you don’t know if the world is worth saving at all.

Somewhere in that moment of not-knowing it’s possible

to feel a jubilation larger than the heart of Christ,

or bigger than the Menorah your Jewish friend just described,

or more massive than your last trip to the market

and some small voice within sings,

This is it!  This is it!

and even when you don’t know what this might be,

you’re so in love with the sheer joy of being alive

you delight.

Oh don’t you delight

that life happens when you’re looking sideways,

when you least expect it,

when it’s the grace of simply being.


**Thanks for reading the poem of my joy tonight.  When is the last time YOU have felt unexpected joy, unexpected grace, life opening your heart in an unexpected moment?



About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in December 2017 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Life is what happens when you’re looking sideways.

  1. Carol says:

    I love your poem, your thoughts. I am hoping for that little voice, because the current political climate, from which it seems I am incapable of divorcing myself, is about to overwhelm me.

    • Kathy says:

      I understand, Carol. It can be so hard, at times, to find that inner joy, that unexpected life. May it creep in between the political climate, between your next trip to a restaurant, between a visit with your kids…and perhaps you’ll find yourself laughing, remembering, oh THIS.

  2. dorannrule says:

    Beautifully said and truly thought lrovoking.

  3. tbocklund says:

    Thank you Kathy … this was a lovely moment to prepare for the day ahead, leaning into a cold winter wind.

    • Kathy says:

      Terri, leaning into that cold winter wind can be so challenging. That’s why moments of grace can be so precious, I guess. After reading your comment, I thought of you and how poems and songs might come to you. This little poem was written in ten minutes just trying to capture that feeling of unexpected joy.

  4. Robin says:

    Beautiful poem, Kathy. I love it. ❤ It was a wonderful way to start my day.
    That unexpected joy or grace finds me when I'm with family (especially my grandson who is teaching me about these things even though he's only 19 months old), when I'm out on my walks, when M and I are simply enjoying each other's company, when I'm listening to the wind howl (gale warnings this morning and boy, is the wind singing!), and when I'm awake and aware (instead of preoccupied with current events) so that can mean any small moment throughout the day. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, what a lovely expression of that unexpected joy dancing in and through your life. How precious that you have a little grandson to teach you what we adults can so easily forget. I know what you mean about joy coming to us when we’re not preoccupied by what’s happening in the world, our fears and concerns and worries and thoughts and feelings beliefs! Suddenly there’s a pause and we remember. Phew… Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Lori says:

    Lovely poem. I have unexpected moments of joy much more often since I moved back home.

  6. Sybil Nunn says:

    I always loved the saying “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans”.

    Your thoughtful awareness always inspires me. I even started thinking about meditating … and then I saw something shiny …

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, in meditation we see something shiny every two seconds! It’s just a returning to our true love & heart again and again and again. And then eventually it begins to dawn that what we TRULY love in life–our true heart–fills us with more unexpected joy than all the shiny things that kept dancing all around. (Or, maybe…we start seeing joy IN the shiny things? Not sure about that. Smile.)

  7. I LOVE this, Kathy….I was hoping something more poignant and meaningful to say would present itself, but things are kind of going sideways here this week…beautiful poem, thanks for sharing!

    • Kathy says:

      I know what you mean about those sideways things with their distracting tendencies, Cindy. It’s the holy-days, and, man, can things go sideways with Christmas cards and presents and a thousand things covering up our innate peace. Blessings and thank you!

  8. debyemm says:

    I cannot begin to convey what a gift learning about my ancestry (from zero beyond my two parents to 75% – 3 of 4 grandparents – is a monumental change in only 2 months time !!) has done for my perspectives on life.

    While circumstances were decidedly hard – the Great Depression and a biblical flood on the Mississippi River – with no parental support allowing them to keep their precious babies – what my mom’s and dad’s birth mothers did could not have been “happy” for them. But for, I would not be. Maybe I could have known that anyway but their love shines through the more complete story I now have for each of them.

    And in understanding how such things come to pass . . . my perspective has enlarged beyond a single life or that life’s desires and experiences . . . to see a much larger scope of time and events.

    With the ending of this year and for this Christmas’ gift, my new awareness IS the unexpected joy, the unexpected grace, and absolutely !! life has opened my heart most unexpectedly as well.

    Blessings on you – the joy your beingness brings with your presence and the grace your use of the English language expresses as your share your heart with all of us, your readers.

  9. Kathy says:

    Deb, your comment is a beautiful poem in itself. I can feel that joy which permeates your being right now. To learn so much, to access so much of our family history must indeed be a joy in this sideways quest of living. I love that you say that their love shines through the more complete story you know have for each of them. It’s like you have an eagle’s view of life now as it shines across the generations. Bowing deeply to your unexpected joy and grace…

  10. Hi Kathy, I’m trying to catch up with posts I missed when I was recuperating from surgery. I had to laugh at your line, “Or when the political world goes to hell in a hand basket.” About the time you wrote this Tim & I were watching the news with his brother and sister-in-law, and when it was over I said, “Well, as Auntie Lil used to say, we’re going to hell in a hand basket.” The expression started getting used by the four of us constantly for the next couple of days. Funny how these sayings come and go and come around again.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi again, Barbara! I am loving see you here and there in the blogosphere! I am thinking about writing a post about humor, but may not. I LOVE sayings like “We’re going to hell in a hand basket.” Have been known to laugh hysterically for five minutes after typing such a ridiculous thing. Thank you for sharing your Auntie Lil’s story.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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