Unexpected Joy

“I believe joy is a spiritual practice.” ~ Brene’ Brown, PhD

This morning, I woke up poorly rested from a bad dream. I looked at the clock and realized I was going to be late picking up Jamie from my daughter Vanessa’s apartment. Jamie had been like a big sister to Vanessa when she was attending Cornell University. Since Vanessa was in clinical rotations now on Saturday mornings in a doctor’s office, I had promised to take Jamie out for breakfast. She had flown down from Ithaca, New York for a brief few days in Miami and was looking forward to sunshine and beaches. When I arrived at Vanessa’s apartment, I discovered that there was no coffee in her cupboard. So, Jamie and I drove to the neighborhood Starbucks.


We weren’t in the Starbucks for more than fifteen minutes when a man walked up to us and asked us if we owned a grey Volkswagon Jetta. I said, “Yes, I do.” He showed me a picture on his phone and said, “Someone just hit your car and left the parking lot. But I took pictures.” Jamie and I picked up our coffees and followed him to the car.

You have to understand how much I love my 2008 VW Jetta. It has faithfully carried three kids to back and forth to school, football practice, flag football practice, track practice, piano lessons, guitar lessons, taken me back and forth to work and countless trips for countless social service programs around the State of Florida, and many family trips to Key West. My Jetta has 164,000 miles on it. I love that car.

I could have been upset. I could have been mad. But I wasn’t.


I called the police and my insurance company while Jaime walked back to the Starbucks to get cups of ice water. While we were waiting for the police, Vanessa arrived. And then unexpectedly, the driver of the car that hit my Jetta returned. I don’t know why she came back, but she tried to convince me to let her cousin’s friend fix my car. I politely told her that I had already called the police and my insurance company. She was more than a little surprised that I wouldn’t take her up on her offer.

By the time the police finished their report three hours later, I realized that I was actually having a pretty nice day. I was with people I loved. None of us had been hurt. We were sitting at Starbucks eating empanadas and drinking iced coffees. My car would be repaired. Life was good.


Have you ever been in a difficult circumstance occur and found yourself experiencing joy instead of sorrow?


“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” ~ Psalm 126:3


About Linda Freeman

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Linda Pulley Freeman combines her specialized training in environmental and chemical engineering with her deep ministerial commitment as she serves mission fields at home and abroad.

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What People Are Saying

  • Oh yes. As I lay in bed after leaving the hospital today, because of a car accident on my way to the court house for sentencing of the person who killed my son. I think this accident was an event which allowed me give God all the glory and praise. Never made it to court. So a bad situation for a great situation. Experiencing joy out of a bad circumstances.

    • Dear Mairlyn:

      Praying for your speedy recovery from the accident. Believing God was in that courtroom.


  • I enjoyed this post (and will think of an answer to the question you asked). For now, however, I am fascinated by the empanadas at Starbucks! We don’t see a lot of those in Tallahasee!

    • OOPS – Tallahassee!

    • Paula:

      We were there so long, my daughter had time to go to the Argentinean bakery to purchase empanadas and bring them back!!

    • Oh THAT makes sense! I know Starbucks customizes its offerings to the particular region, but empanadas surprised me! The Argentinian bakery sounds incredible!

    • The empanadas were incredible!!


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