Although 11 days apart, two surprises, both memorable, demonstrated great examples of teamwork. One involved a collective effort of the Fort Scott High School music department and the other dealt with Mother's Day.
A few weeks ago, Pat Harry, the choir teacher announced her retirement. Many attended her final choir recital, knowing it would be the last one she directed. As the performance ended, James Fox and Cody Toll, Harry's colleagues in the music department, took the microphone and told her the concert was not over.
She was led off the stage where her husband Steve greeted her with a dozen roses and walked her to two wing-back chairs in the aisle. From there, we all watched a slide show and were treated to a chronology of Pat's tenure at FSHS. But what came after that was thrilling.
As the slide show ended, the grand drape opened. There on the stage was the high school orchestra and over 200 of Pat's students, young and old, singing the "Hallelujah" chorus. Some had traveled for hundreds of miles to surprise their former teacher.
A week later, at Pat's retirement get together with our faculty, she summed up the night's importance: "The four most important days in my life were when I got married, when I had my two children, and that night."
The second event involved only our family, but it, too, was a wonderful surprise. My nephew Morgan -- who currently is in Texas finishing up his advanced degree -- recently interviewed in Kansas City for an intern position as a medical physicist. Several had applied, and having endured interviews with more than a dozen department heads over the course of the day, he was told he would be contacted within two weeks.
Our family met at Morgan's parents' (my brother and sister-in-law's house) for Mother's Day. Many of us had been praying for Morgan, and the first question everyone asked that Sunday was if he had been notified about the position. We were told he should hear sometime that week.
Morgan's sister, Jennifer, had us all gather around and presented a card to her mother, telling her to read it aloud so she could video the event with her cell phone -- not a typical request, for sure. Morgan had inscribed a sweet message to his mother, thanking her for raising him well. In his last sentence, he wrote that he would be moving to Kansas City because he had gotten the job.
Morgan had learned the good news four days before, but had decided it would be much more exciting to over-night the card to Jennifer so she could surprise their mother and our entire family at the same time. I asked Jennifer how she had managed to keep such a secret; she "just knew" it would be worth it in the end. Most people agree they love surprises -- when they are targeted toward others, that is.
That's probably one reason I enjoy reading the Bible -- it is chock full of them: God gifted Eve to Adam after putting him into a deep sleep; Sarah celebrated her 90th birthday by giving birth; the paralytics danced after receiving a healing touch; and Jesus astonished the disciples following His resurrection.
But one special surprise remains to be realized -- Jesus' return to earth to take us all home. No one knows the date (although the Mayans would disagree with me on that). Even Jesus claimed ignorance on the topic.
What we do know is that scripture is filled with prophecies and revelations about the end times, and even though we don't know when the grand surprise will occur, we can be assured it will give new meaning to the words "worth it in the end."