30 days of journals, but did I get anything more out of it than that? Did God really touch me more than just writing down what I did each day? What have I learned from doing this?
I never truly limited myself to just saying "surprise me"; there are so many people in need, so many of my good friends, who are so much more important than my silly experiment, and I prayed for them daily by name. I also prayed selfishly: "Please help me on this test", "Please let this email be received well", etc, but even so I feel I always kept an honest, welcoming approach to saying "surprise me", and then spotting the surprises when they came.
A lot of "surprises" aren't necessarily from God, Terry even talked about that a bit on Day 14 in his book. I'm not going to claim they are, or that they have to be, but God is still creator, He created surprises, so it doesn't seem wholly inappropriate to offer thanks for all these surprises in my life, anyway. Any number of the things I've written about can easily be dismissed as coincidental, or just "normal"; life would have done that anyway (like the date formatter in address book, to name just one trivial example from a while back). It's easy to say that wasn't really God surprising me, it was there already, only waiting to be discovered. Maybe so, but regardless that doesn't change how I became so much more aware of just how many surprises come in a day. I paid closer attention to all the glorious things God's put into my life, and maybe that's the real heart of what this experiment is about. Yes, it's a lot about learning to give control over to God, but I also think a major part is simply learning to see what God's already doing in my life. And it doesn't take a special prayer for Him to keep doing that; I just need to pay better attention.
All in all it was fun to watch, to pay that extra attention, and maybe I'll do it again sometime. Actually, in writing this 5 months later I can say that I have continued, off and on, to pray "surprise me", but I opted not to keep the detailed journals–it just takes too much time, and I think that's where the real drag came in, too: I forgot the purpose behind the prayer because I was so worried about keeping up with writing that I didn't really look any more at all that I was missing, all the surprises that were coming to me anyway. So, I still plan to journal about my really great days, but otherwise, the only record I'm keeping of the surprises will be in my memory.
As for this journal, it's complete. It's something my children or grandchildren can look back to read someday, or me, for that matter, to see what I was like at this age (for the future record, I was 21 during my "surprise me" month). I do realise, of course, that my little writings really pale in comparison of quality to Terry's; some days I had it in me to tangent and just talk and talk, other days it became merely summary. Some days I felt closer to God than others, but it was still a fun experiment to just open my eyes and try and see what is happening here, what's happening in my life, what God's doing for me.
It's been a good 30 days. Thank you, God, for everything.